11.12.2014

Writing A Novel Is Hard


Writing a novel is such a freaking roller coaster ride and I don't even like roller coasters all that much anymore.  One day I'm really proud of what I've created and then the next day I'm convinced it's the worst thing anyone has ever written. I have loved and loathed this painstakingly created collection of words a million times over during this entire process.

I let my mom be the first person to read it in paper form and make edits.  Then I read it for myself and made edits of my own.  I tried not to even think about it for about two months so that helped me look at it with fresh eyes.  It started out really good.  It was interesting and I liked what I was reading but then it fell flat.  There were different parts of the story that were just boring and other parts where I just didn't like my own writing.  I was probably really over it the day I wrote certain parts and I could tell.  After spending years and years on this it was really discouraging and I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do to fix it.  I had a few ideas, but nothing concrete.  Nothing I felt confident about making that difference I needed to make. 

I decided to deal with the basic edits first.  Getting through it was tedious but I had to get it done from the paper version  before I started making any major changes in Word.  A lot of it was grammar, some of it was wording, some of it was calling characters by the wrong name, but all of it was really time consuming.  It was page after page, correction after correction and it felt like it would never end.  It took me about three sessions to get it all done.  I did session two at my favorite coffee shop and I felt really old school carting that giant stack of paper around but in a really good way.  A really proud way.  Like, I wrote that.  Those are my words.  Every single last one of them.  It's technically a manuscript although I don't feel comfortable referring to it as such. 

After I finished that round of corrections it was time to get back to writing mode and start trying to make it better. That's when I got discouraged again because I still wasn't sure exactly where to start.  Part of me just wanted to be done with it.  I wasn't totally satisfied, but I did what I set out to do.  I wrote over 100,000 words.  I wrote a novel and it's done.  I was tired of thinking about this thing so maybe that was good enough.  That's what I tried to tell myself, except it wasn't good enough and I couldn't rest until I made it better. 

Spurred along by forces outside myself that wouldn't allow me to give up; I sat there at my dining room table with my laptop open one Sunday morning.  I looked at the random notes I'd made in my phone while I did my paper reading.  I made some more notes in my dog eared spiral notebook.  I did a little bit lot of staring into space, and then I started typing.  Once I got started I couldn't stop.  I removed entire sections added new ones and moved existing things around.  If changed one part of the story I had to go through the entire thing and update any related parts.  One thing led to another and I was sent into constant editing mode of finishing and improving for a good two weeks.  I'd think about a sentence that should be changed or something else I needed to add on my way home from work and immediately open my lap top and do it when I got home.  If I thought of something else while I was in bed I'd add a note to my phone and add it in the next day.  My mind was constantly racing with thoughts and ideas about this fictional group of people that I've come to know and love.  It's exhausting and it doesn't seem to stop no matter how much I kind of wish it would until I feel that it's where it needs to be.  I've only had a few different updates pop into my head over the last week.  I'm really excited about the changes I made and I think it's pretty much where it needs to be for now, until I decide that I hate it again.  I mostly meant to trim things down but my word count unintentionally went up.  I'm sitting at 471 pages and 111,301 words of double spaced Courier New. 

The obvious question is, "Now what?" and the annoying answer is still, "I don't know."

12 comments :

Law_Fal said...

Still proud of you!!!!!!

jackie jade said...

what a great accomplishment and sounds like a ton of work! do what you need to do on your own time and good luck with the next steps!!

BKCsquared said...

Wow, congratulations!! I love that you're able to look at your own work & see that there are still changes to be made. Can't wait to read it someday! :)

xo, B
www.BKCsquared.com

Kate Mitchell said...

I completely know what you're talking about! That's how I felt after writing Aureole. And in the end, since I self-published, the finished product wasn't as good as I knew I could have done. But what I tell myself is that this is my first novel. My next, which I'm working on right now, will be much better and I'll hopefully have a professional editor, which will hopefully help my create a good quality novel since I won't be "over it" as much. You can do it! Take a break for a month or two if you need to or do it in chunks.

Renae said...

I still think that it is just really cool, that you are writing a novel. Just a a great accomplishment, and for sure something you should be proud of.

cashanamusings said...

Writing it seemed like the hard part, but the editing process and the multiple drafts are just as hard. It is the process and I am sure once it is completely done you will be quite proud of all the hard work.

Kate Jordan said...

I totally feel your pain with this. I have been here and I know the feeling of 'what now?' is pretty intense. You'll get there. Well done for getting this far!!

Ameena said...

The hard part is out of the way...now comes the fun and easier part of find a home for you book. So great that you got this far, I am so impressed.

A Life Less Traveled said...

I just think it is awesome that you wrote a novel.

Vett Vandiver said...

so true, writing my first book was the longest process but so worth it!

mypixieblog said...

I can't imagine the rollercoaster that novel writing must be... but I really hope that you are so very proud of your accomplishments because YOU DID IT. And yes, of course there will be second guessing and hair pulling and many nights of lost sleep, but it's a labor of love for a reason, right? Whatever happens at this point, you have SO MUCH to feel proud of :)

Janna Renee said...

I would never imagine that a novel would be anywhere close to finished with the first draft, and it would probably take me 100 drafts to feel like it was 'right' if at all. I think you are doing amazing, and am always proud of your efforts ;) Mostly envious, because I have like a whole sentence towards the novel I say I'm going to write, haha.

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