Writing a book is pretty much one of the most strenuous and frightening mental exercises that you can ask a person to undertake. Building a complete alternate world, peopling it, picking out a collection of interesting men and women and then occupying yourself with their hopes and dreams, their fears and troubles…And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the problems of coming up with an interesting, cohesive plot. Or writing, editing, and selling the thing.

And yet people set down to do this every day! Many of us for the first time, but also—for the lucky and the published—for the second, umpteenth, or sixty-something-ish (I still love Salem’s Lot best, Stephen King) go. And people, for the most part, love to read the end results of these madness trips, and can follow their favorite writers and stories for decades on end. It’s a beautiful system, a wonderful system, but it has got two problems as far as I can see:

  • It’s lonely work, that mad act of creation.
  • Most readers don’t really know what goes into it.
Hey, Internet! Let’s Write a Novel or Whatever is my attempt to get around both of those problems through transparency and conversation. Over the course of months, this website is going to be a chronicle of the writer’s life as he goes from basic idea to published, edited novel. Certain essential plot elements might be obfuscated or withheld (it would be nice to sell copies of the novel, after all) but other than that, it’ll be all of the guts: The fun parts, the hard parts, the ugly, distressing, depressing parts, and then the other fun parts. There will also be essays, contests, calls for contributions and feedback, and a lot of other things to make the ugly, distressing, and depressing bits easier for all of us to bear.

So how about it, Internet? You want to be a part of this experiment? You want to see how it’s done?

You want to write a novel or whatever?

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