A Novel Means of Motivation

In the same breakfast conversation mentioned in the last post, the subject turned to the writing of novels.

I've had a number of short stories published over the years, and wrote a number of movie scripts (tho' none ever resulted in more than a few trips out to Hollywood to meet with producers who never actually put money on the table); the scripts were essentially novellas in length and amount of plot.

But I've never been able to finish any of the novels I've started working on. Somewhere between 50 and 100 pages, I'll almost invariably start muttering to myself, "My god, this sucks. It absolutely, totally sucks," and end up abandoning the project. With a shorter work, I can fool myself long enough to actually finish the piece... and find, surprisingly, that it's not that bad once it's done.

The breakfast conversation led me to muse on what it might take to motivate myself to actually complete a novel (even if it does suck). And the thought that came to mind was a reverse-advance.

Suppose I gave somebody, oh, a hundred bucks. And I told them, "Hold onto this hundred dollars for a year. If I haven't finished a novel by then, you get to keep the money."

And ideally the person you give the money to won't be family or friend, but someone you really, really dislike, and who feels the same way towards you. Because not only will you face the prospect of seeing your hundred bucks end up with someone you loath, but you'll just know that that person, if you don't finish that frigging novel, will wave those bills in your face and say "Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, you're a fucking lo-o-o-o-oser!"

This... might... actually... work.

And the really tempting thing about this idea is that I can think of several people whose money, if they wanted to write a novel, I would cheerfully hold onto for a year. And I'd probably end up keeping it. Cool!

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