Kevin Ahearn issues a challenge...
On Starting a Novel
Dear Rose, Barbara, and Vikki:
All three of you are writing novels. Your stories are worlds apart, but at the core of each is a woman who has been the victim of a life-shattering experience that she will have to cope with, live through, and in the end, triumph over.
Your heroines face terrible, even seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but the most difficult hurdle to clear might come from the most unexpected source: your heroine herself, because to overcome and prevail she’ll have to discover a part of herself that will make her whole.
Now for something completely different...
Let’s imagine that I asked each of you to meet me alone at the local Dunkin’ Donuts or at a Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Fifteen minutes, no more.
Well, I have met each of you and I am now in stunned disbelief. Not one of you decided to drop everything on the spot and run away with me. I’m not disappointed or heartbroken. Not ME. I am outraged! How could any of you possibly resist me? ME!
Vikki, you just didn’t get it, did you?
Barbara, the second time you rolled your eyes, I knew it was over.
Rose, did you have to be so rude!
I had to be completely out of my mind to have such expectations, right? I mean, c’mon, who the hell do I think I am?
Now let’s put the shoe on the other foot. I’ve started reading your manuscript over a cup of coffee, and in about fifteen minutes do you really expect me to drop everything and run away with your heroine?
You’d better. Because that’s what writing a novel is all about.
Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Ahearn
Thank you for a most provocative letter, Kevin. I can think of many authors who might take exception to your analogy and premise, and of reasons they might do so.
Bewildering Stories welcomes replies in support, rebuttal, or otherwise from readers, contributors, and editors.