There is nothing as terrible as printing off a eighty thousand some word novel. I didn't count this time, because I was terrified of the number, but my last novel was about three hundred pages and I know this one was significantly longer. I'm guessing it's about four hundred and fifty pages long. It took me at least two hours to print off. I write novels, but I always find myself printing off phonebooks.
The printing off process on my latest novel wasn't nearly that bad. Mostly because my siblings were watching television behind me and I was half heartedly watching that. It surprised me that the printing off didn't irk me as much as it usually does. To be perfectly honest, my new novel, In Transit, offers nothing but surprises.
I was surprised I first got the idea, which happened about a week after I shipped my old book off to friends and promised not to write anything new for a while. The outlining process surprised me because it was much filed with gaps when my usual outlining was meticulous. When I started writing, it surprised me also has I, a writer with very written out paths for my writing, was really just winging it. Sure enough, reading it for the first time surprised me as well.
Usually, my first reading of me work surprises me. It's an expected surprise, if there is such a thing. I anticipate hating my work, but then I always end up loving it. It's happened with everything I've ever written.
After putting whatever I've written away long enough to forget what I was thinking when I wrote it, I end up loving it. For In Transit, the same happened again. The surprise there was the same though. I'm always surprised what I've written is good, or at least what I deem good. And I'm always surprised at the way it turned out, which is usually hugely different from what I pictured it turning out as.
I blame this on my characters.
Writer's like to blame things on their characters. Much like children blame accidents on their imaginary friends. Fictional characters I create are of course not real. I often forget this, which is insipidly stupid of me. But they are not real. Not at all in fact. They are slaves, I create them, and then I make their lives terrible and write their reactions, but they are not real.
How though, if they are not real, do they turn out so differently from what I seemingly thought they would turn out as?
My answer to this is that I wrote them like this. I don't know how, but I'm sure that I probably did it.
After three novels it still amazes me. It amazes me that my character is so amazingly strong when, while I always pictured her a strong, I never remember writing her as so unrelenting in the face of opposition. I was blown away by my character's strength. And I was blown away by her family's warmth, and her extended family's zeal. I was blown away by the intimidating atmosphere I put my character into, even though I exactly planned it to be like that.
I'm still blown away by the fact that I wrote all these pages too. The very fact that I have the ability to write novels is still crazy to me, but it's also common place. Yes, I've accepted, that is my defintion: writer, tree killer, stringer of words, creator of characters. But when I think about it, it's just insane that I do this for fun. And that I exceed at surprising my own self with my writing.
I'm not sure what brings the most surprise: The fact my heroine doesn't break under everything I throw at her, the fact I get worried about her when I know what happens, the fact the plot twists make me gasp, the fact I'm gasping at something I wrote, or the fact that I wrote it. Whatever it is, I'm sure my new novel is good because it surprises me. And that's all I ever want out of my writing.
PS What do you guys want out of your writing? Do you read your own books differently than you read other people's books? Do you hate printers too? Do you think I should plant a tree to cover up my guilt? Do you want to read my book? Do you think a union should cover the cost of printer ink? Do you leave your book alone? Do you like all these questions?