So, in 2007-08 I wrote a novel.
We don’t talk about the novel.
In 2010 I had my first article published, and in the six years since have had 101 articles published online, as well as some in hardcopy through my old job in bioethics, where I really got my start in writing.
In December 2012 I revisited fiction, reviewed my old work and started thinking about where I went wrong.
I don’t remember the details, but let’s guess that in early 2014 I started seriously trying to work out how to write fiction. That brings us up to the end of 2015 where I finally found an approach that has worked for me.
Here’s the detailed timeline, derived the various documents I’ve been working on:
November 21st 2015 – started plot
21 hours of writing and 7,000 words
December 21st 2015 – started first draft.
85 hours of writing and 36,000 words
February 18th 2016 – finished first draft.
Eviscerating critique by wife
February 21st 2016 – started second draft.
Still a huge amount of work to do!
It’s been surprisingly difficult, but I have to say that it completely overshadows my nonfiction work in terms of the creative process and personal impact.
I even wrote on this blog some time ago, when I was struggling with fiction, that nonfiction seemed superior because it dealt entirely with reality.
But now it feels like nonfiction has lost its appeal. Whatever I might write at present would feel ineffectual and ultimately pointless. Perhaps it’s just a phase, but I’m glad to have finally discovered the real power of fiction.