Sometimes I listen to songs like U2’s Sunday, Bloody Sunday, or John Lennon’s Imagine, and I think protest songs are a waste of time. People don’t listen to music and expect it to change the world.
People don’t read novels and hope they will change the world, either.
And yet, I find that things I put in my stories start happening in real life. In my first novel (your first novel will probably suck, like mine did), I decided the main characters should wind up divorced. Then it happened to me. Maybe I just saw that coming on some level. In my second novel, the main character goes to work for a huge conglomerate called the AUC. Years later I started working for a huge company with similar initials.
So in my third novel, the one I am working on now, the main character is trying to compose a song for his wife (he is a composer, after all), and in the story he gets about 15 seconds into the song and gets stuck. I decided to write that song, not just describe it, and guess how far the real-life song is . . . 15 seconds. At least I fixed the timing of it yesterday.
So this holds up the process of writing the novel, because my brain wants to solve this problem before going on to the next one. It irritates me to skip a dilemma and come back to it later. Another choice is to go into Editorial mode and add the narrative voice in the first 15 chapters or so (I don’t number them). But that is kind of like admitting defeat, which also irritates me.
So why don’t I just write a novel about a couple who wins the lottery and lives happily ever after? Or someone who reads a blog and suddenly understands all the mysteries of the universe?