Two and a half years ago I sat down at a laptop at my local Upper East Side Starbucks on November 1st, 2010, Day One of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
I had done no planning, no preparing (it’s against the rules).
All I had was a blank screen, and a panicking brain.
WHAT would I write about? Well… uh… gotta make up a character, right? But who? Well, my good friend Chris had just landed at JFK yesterday, suitcases in hand. He was moving to NYC to “start over” after spending many years in Los Angeles.
Okay, I thought. My main character just moved to NYC from LA. Why? What would he do? Why would it matter?
Well, those questions turned into a 50,000 word novel (that I finished 4 days before the end of NaNoWriMo… score!)
Over the next 2 years I would triple the size of the book, cut it in half, double it again, and cut it in half once more. I posted each chapter as a blog that (not intentionally) convinced a large portion of gay Manhattan that “Gulliver” was an actual person. They were convinced they saw him at clubs and on the street. They asked him out on dates and offered him jobs. In the end, one thing was apparent: lots of people became very, very invested in him. They cared about him. They sympathized with and found commonalities in him.
My gut said I had something here. My mind said “you’ve written over 13 novels since you were 12… what makes you think THIS one will be any more worth it than the rest of that crap?”