• Shana Ritter

Novel Writing

It is an exercise in endurance, a willingness to make mistake after mistake. A few weeks ago I wrote that I felt like I was at a dead end – not that I was finished – far, far from that, but rather I had written myself into a corner I couldn’t write myself out of.

A few days and pages later I no longer feel like I am at a dead end but rather that I am in a sub division with too many streets with similar names. I have always gotten lost in sub divisions. There are cul de sacs and too many roads named for the family with the only change being court or street or lane – and when it all looks the same well its hard to pay attention to where you are and how different each garden might actually be.

My grandson has become a lego builder. He calls the instruction booklets maps: he turns the page and finds the number of pieces he needs for step one – gathers those puts them together and moves on to step two. But recently he’s begun to improvise – “This piece looks almost the same – I’ll try it.” The last helicopter he built he told me proudly he did it without a map. And it still looked like the helicopter pictured in the drawing.

Since its my story I’ll have to make my own map. One that leads away from streets with predictable names and back into a larger landscape. I will know the topography better this time around. And with practice the endurance will last longer. I’ve still got a few more geographies I’m sure I’ll wander around in before I find my way clear.

#novels #onwriting #prose

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