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Hard Work and Grim Determination: I decided to write a novel in which the main character succeeds through hard work and grim determination
Posted by Douglas, Jul 27, 2008. 2546 views. ID = 1516

Hard Work and Grim Determination

Posted by Douglas, Jul 27, 2008. 2546 views. ID = 1516
This post was written in 12 minutes.
This post has been awarded 36 stars by 9 readers.

Have you ever noticed that in every movie, every play, every novel, the hero of the story never attains a satisfactory conclusion due entirely to hard work and determination over the course of many months or years? Always there is some sudden or surprising complication which makes the story more interesting than a simple plodding tale of plain, diligent work. The fates intervene and twist the story into something far more interesting than real life.

In real life, ordinary people don't suddenly discover that they are the long lost sons of the king of France. In real life people don't pull magic swords from rocks, or discover that their father is really the black-masked villain who is trying to destroy the rebellion, or get lost in a cave with both a beautiful girl and the villainous Injun Joe.

Isn't art supposed to mimic real life?

As I thought about this strange state of affairs, I decided it was time for someone to break the trend. That someone would be me. I would write a novel in which my main character survived, persevered and succeeded without any deus ex machina. No silly plot devices, no absurd twists of fate. Just extraordinary determination and travail.

It would be magnificent.

So I began writing. I started on a Tuesday evening seven months ago, and in that first evening I wrote less than one page. "Getting started," I told myself, "that's the hardest part. It'll get easier from here."

As it turned out, writing my novel was much harder than I expected. Every word had to be carefully chosen, each piece of dialogue precisely articulated, and every bit of action deliberately orchestrated. In the first month I wrote exactly seven pages. In the second month I sped up a bit, and wrote another nine pages plus one paragraph.

At this rate, I realized, I probably would not finish before I died. I began to understand why people refer to determination as grim determination.

But I persevered. I did! Every night I would sit at home (while my friends all went out to party and have a good time) and worked - all alone - on my manuscript. I became a recluse, I skipped meals, my hands began to tremble, and my eyes were bloodshot, but I did not give up. It was just like my novel - hard work and grim determination!

Then, last night, a fleet of alien poets landed in my back yard, and, after taking one look at my manuscript, applied their telekinetic powers to the job of finishing it for me. It took them precisely seven and a half minutes.

I think it was hard work for them, too.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 36 stars by 9 readers.

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