According to Discovery.com, the female frilled shark carries her babies for up to 3.5 years before giving birth. As someone who was throw-uppy for the duration of my pregnancies, I think the frilled shark’s lengthy gestation sounds miserable.
On the other hand, as someone who is gestating a novel (and has been for the past 4.5 years), I find the details of the frilled shark’s gestation rather comforting. Since I am only 25% through a draft of my manuscript (and already a full year slower than the frilled shark), I am hopeful that, once complete, it will be even more appealing than a frilled shark baby. Frilled sharks of any age make Hammerheads look like pageant queens. They have three hundred teeth. Arranged in 25 rows. I won’t post a picture of a frilled shark because you might feel scared. (But here’s a link.)
I feel sheepish that I write at the speed of sloth, but what’s even more humbling is this WIP’s metamorphosis over the last 4.5 years. When I started, this book was about “the friendship between an American boy with albinism and an African girl with albinism.”
You probably noticed there’s no plot there. There’s no hook or even the whiff of a conflict. But I, green and ridiculously optimistic that a conflict would emerge, plowed ahead. And then I came to a dead end because plotless stories always come to dead ends. I learned this from WU’ers James Scott Bell, David Corbett, Lisa Cron, and Donald Maass.
So back to the drawing board went I, and another draft emerged, one that involved albinism and Antarctica. Dead end. After that, another draft that focused on war and Antarctica. Then a shut-in wife who never left the house and her husband, a serial soldier, who liked war more than he liked his family. And that evolved, somehow, into a story about two kids, Caesar and Sylvia, and it took place in Antarctica. It was cleverly titled, CAESAR AND SYLVIA IN ANTARCTICA.
(I am literally cringing as I share these plotless novel ideas with you.) [Read more…]