the truth about writing a novel

Since I’ve been on break, I’ve taken the chance to binge-watch Gossip Girl (along with some other Netflix recommendations) and write. As a lot of you know, I shared the first little bit of the untitled novel I’m working on (here) but, as I’ve continued to write, something happened. I can’t spill the beans quite yet; but, without further ado, I’ll tell you the truth about writing a novel (especially for those that don’t outline).

Nothing Goes Right

Ok, let me explain. Things do go right – but not exactly as you planned. One minute, you’re creating the world, the characters, the plot; and then, the characters take over.

Now, I choose not to outline my novels. I do this because I know that, at some point, the things I thought would happen don’t (and things that I never thought would happen do). However, this time, the characters went a little nuts.

And all I can do is hold on while they take me for a little rollercoaster ride.

As soon as I get a handle on things, I’ll start to share more; I can’t wait to share what I’m working on, especially now that things have changed.

I hope that, through the teasers or sections I share, you become excited about the story too.

You Lose Yourself

I mean, let’s face it, writing is kind of like falling down that rabbit hole. One minute, we’re in our homes or that coffee shop we love down the street, staring at a computer screen. And, just as suddenly as Alice’s trip, we’re transported into the world we created.

We become silent observers, flies on the wall, as we witness the world around us. It moves, breaths, and lives; and we’re just tasked with the job of painting the picture in vivid color.

But don’t worry, we’re up for the challenge.

You Change Your Mind – CONSTANTLY

I write a brilliant line that adds so much to the story one night; and then, three days later, I curse myself because it’s forcing me to stay in a box.

Yep, that happens all the time. One second, the story is going great, everything is falling into place, and then it all goes to hell.

Ever wonder why it takes so long to write? Yeah, this is why.

Life Happens

We’ve all been there…that moment when we’re in the middle of an epic scene and our significant other pokes their head into the office and asks for some attention. That’s the moment we struggle with the most.

But don’t ever forget that their support, their patience, their love, is priceless.

I know now that I used to write because I wasn’t getting the love, the affection, the attention that I needed. It was an escape and, because of this, I find it harder to write.

But, when Adam gets home, I close the computer (ok…most nights).  He’s the one real thing in my life and I can’t let the characters in my mind take over. Relationships have been known to fall apart; make sure yours doesn’t because of your writing.

The End

The best and worst part of writing? Typing the end. First, it isn’t exactly the end. Rounds and rounds of edits happen after that. But it’s also sad, especially if there isn’t a second novel in sight.

Saying goodbye to the characters we created is like losing a piece of ourselves. I still think of Kate and Rico from my first novel. I still wish I could re-write their story.

But I’ve already written those fateful words. And I need to focus on new characters now.

Well, there it is. – the truth about writing a novel. Things are messy, they don’t go the way we want them to, especially when we let the novel take over our real world.

Overall, the most important piece of advice I have is to keep one foot planted firmly in the real world. Wonderland is a pretty cool place but our world is better.

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