When I was about nine years old I decided to write a book. It was a novel - a children's novel, but still a novel. I remember that it was set in Hong Kong and was titled "The Silver Bird of Happiness". I wrote somewhere around a page, in longhand, before I abandoned it. Partly I lacked persistence, but that wasn't really it. I was very persistent at certain things, things that just required repeating over and over until I was successful. But I didn't know what the story was going to be, other than in the sketchiest detail. And so I gave up.
Later at high school we had an assignment to write the first chapter of a novel. Again, I had absolutely no idea of plot. So I fudged it. I decided the first chapter would "set the scene". I thought of a character (based on my father) and a scene (near my home), and wrote a descriptive first chapter. I received a very high mark, I recall, but it's a good thing that no one asked me to write the second chapter.
And so I decided that I would never be a writer, after all. Until years later I found myself writing poetry. But I still told myself I would never write a novel. Except that I notice that stories are creeping into my poems. Small stories, certainly, but nevertheless stories. And then there is NaNoWriMo. I've bought the book. Maybe one day I will write that novel.
I would never write a sex scene, though. I wouldn't know how to handle it. After all, my knowledge is far too limited. Sex scenes in novels don't involve couples who have been married forever. But then, there the topic of writing sex scenes came up in the writers' festival yesterday. "Writing sex", declared one of the authors, "is just writing. It arises out of character and plot." She admitted that some sex scenes are put in just to spice things up, but usually they don't work. Good sex scenes are there because they advance the plot. And I thought of a character or two I had in mind for a novel, and how the sex between them would go, and admitted to myself that maybe I could do it. One day. Right now I have my poetry, and I have a family history or two to write (one for my mother's family, and one for my father's family.) So, not just yet. But maybe one day...
More Sunday Scribblings here