Novel Number Five by Laurel Corona
Join Laurel for a reading from her third novel, Finding Emilie, at the Ink Spot this Friday, May 13.
There are only two big hurdles for novelists: getting started and keeping going. Well, actually three. Finishing can be a lot harder–and longer–than seems possible. I’m recovering right now from finishing novel number four, The Shape of the World, and warming up to start my next work. I’m happiest when I’m writing, so the break is never long.
Having published four trade books now (including my first and only nonfiction, Until Our Last Breath), I think I can generalize with some degree of confidence about the process.
Trust me, it never gets any less scary. Seeing an unwritten book looming on the horizon is always unnerving. If I live long enough to write twenty books, this will not change. A novel is such a long, intense, draining process that making the first move is a bit like jumping off a cliff in one of those flying squirrel suits, knowing that the ride will bounce you around for at least a year, and maybe a lot more.
I ease into it, poking at the project, sizing it up with wary eyes, turning my back and ignoring it awhile, until I find myself making up dialogue between the characters as I walk to work, and thinking of ways to set scenes as I’m walking home. At that point I know the only way out is through.
That means that maybe I’m ready to look at the blank screen and put something down. Before I know it, one page has become ten, then twenty, then fifty, and I’m off on another ride that will become the most wonderful, meaningful, intriguing, absorbing thing I could possibly do with my life force.
Novel number five–here I come! Almost. Just the thought makes me think I should call for help. Not.
Laurel Corona is a professor of humanities at San Diego City College and a longtime resident of Southern California. She is the author of The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi’s Venice, Penelope’s Daughter, 17 Young Adult books, and numerous works of nonfiction. Laurel was the prose editor of A Year in Ink, Vol. 4. Visit her website.