Over the past year, I embarked on an ambitious new project: my first novel.
I’m writing it in fits and starts, with distractions and detours, the way I tend to write when I do longform work.
Such is the creative process, which winds and spirals until it hits the center, the sweet spot – also known as the final draft.
When people ask me what my novel is about, I say, “The Russian mafia,” and leave it at that. An air of mystery is essential, I find, when talking about major works in progress. Not because of any inherent pretensions, but rather because a) I’m a shy, reserved person in real life, and b) it seems that in talking too much about my work I release all the creative steam that I need to propel me to its completion. As it stands, I’m on my third draft with a view toward another 2–3 drafts until it’s done and polished to a fine sheen. So I shall keep mum until I’m good and ready.
Having said that, I’d like to share with you my book’s working title and logline:
The Russian Girl—A young woman spies, seduces, steals, and scams – anything to win the heart of a Russian mafia boss.
It’s a mix of urban noir and dark romance… and that’s all I have to say about that.
My second project is mercifully short: an entry for the 2018 CBC Short Story Contest. I’ve been aware of the CBC’s literary contests for short stories, poetry, and nonfiction for several years now. However, I have never submitted anything, even when my friends did and encouraged me to do the same. My excuse was a mix of stinginess about the entry fee, lack of confidence in my writing abilities, and a nebulous lack of inspiration.
This year, I feel like I finally have it in me. My themes, which I selected with care, hopefully reflect the Canadian spirit: nature, culture, family, and survival. I have a story draft that I’m revising, and CAD25 budgeted for my submission. And to be quite honest, I’m very excited to be in the submission game again after a lengthy absence.