A Postcard from Write Your (****)Ing Novel


Magic Book

Nine novelists.

Nine novels.

Nine stories.

Dozens of characters.

Ten weeks.

We are somehow almost halfway through Write Your (****)Ing Novel. We have colored, written, drawn, played acting games, written some more, drawn tarot cards, laughed, eaten a lot of cookies, drunk a LOT of coffee, written some more.

We have nine novels on the way. They are all in different stages, but they are all important, they are all expanding the possibilities of being alive. They all feel so POSSIBLE and real and magic.

It turns out, writing a novel is hard. It takes guts. It takes marathoning skills. It takes an iron will, a perversity of spirit, a huge sense of humor and adventure, of willingness to write towards the mystery.

I feel so lucky to be in this group of writers fighting the fight. This week, we are reading Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage The Bones. There is no way to convey the magic in this room, but here is a tiny preview writing experiment.

  1. Take a look at this NYT article about Near Death visions; 
  2. Free write for a few minutes about what a character wants, what they WANT WANT, what they really, really, really want – because they’ve lost it, because they’ve never had it, because they saw it once and have wished for it ever since…;
  3. Put them in a terrible accident/ illness and give them a near death dream in which they have everything they want. Let it be big. Maybe things are falling from the sky, maybe balloons are flying, maybe their first grade teacher comes back and rescinds that F, allow in the absurd, the fantastical. WRITE BIG!
  4. Wake them up. What’s the first thing they see?

Want more? YES! Nancy Au will be hosting FREE one day- drop ins in Oakland starting March 7th. 

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