For Thursday, March 3, 2016:
“The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it.”
Though I understand the basic premise of Wolfe’s statement, I don’t agree fully with the first part of it. ‘Get it out of my system’ instead? Yes, I can go with that.
That’s certainly what I had to do with my first novel, as well as a couple of unpublished non-fiction books I’ve written, but each of those had a particular agenda. While I tried not to preach, I had a definite purpose for writing the novel and one of the NFs: I wanted to help change people’s thinking. I still remember them, and likely always will – like I remember the gist of most of my poems – but they have been out of my system for a good while now.
The novel that is in process now is different. I had and have no agenda other than to write a story that might be enjoyable – and hopefully memorable – for some readers. At the same time, though, it’s been just as compelling to write because it kind of wrote itself. Because I didn’t have an agenda this time, or even much of a plan or outline – and the little I did have didn’t last very long – I’ve enjoyed the craft of writing this one more.
In some ways, then, I expect I might remember this second novel even more than the first, but it is almost time to let it go to the back of the memory bank so I can start on the next one.
I’ve read that a novelist’s second book usually isn’t very good, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’ve had fun writing this one, and I think that’s the most important thing. Hopefully a few readers will see that and enjoy it, too. Maybe some will even remember it for a while.