Monday, March 05, 2007

Writing the Novel

If you're a novelist, have you ever stopped to wonder exactly how hard it is to write a novel? I'm sure you've pounded your head on the keyboard a few times when the muse refuses to show up, but I'm talking about the entire process as a whole.
You have characterization. Character arcs. Black moments. Goals. Motivation. Conflict. Pacing. Voice. Description. The list goes on and on.
I'm editing my novel and realizing that this is the time where I try and make all these elements work together to create a compelling story. And for some reason, I'm much more aware of it now than I have been in the past. I'm noticing how much every single thread weaves together to make a story. And it's not easy!
When I first started writing a novel - back in sixth grade - I had no idea about everything that entailed. But I still kept going, determined to tell my characters' story. It's amazing how my writing journey has been one full of learning, and I'm not done yet. I received my April issue of The Writer magazine - and they are celebrating their 120th anniversary - and just devoured it Friday night. Perfect way to spend a Friday evening! There's so much out there on craft - and you can just skim the surface of it if you choose or dive down deep and really dig into it. But the best part is seeing the craft come alive in your manuscript.
No, it's not easy. But it's not supposed to be. Those of us who write novels have an incredible job - and incredible jobs are seldom without challenges.
So if you're struggling with a particular aspect of your novel today, just take a deep breath, remind yourself that it's not supposed to be easy, but that you're learning and growing as a writer with each word you write.


  1. Ah, yes, the days of innocence, when we just wrote and didn't worry about all the separate elements. Just allowed our internal storytellers free rein.

    I find with The Writer that some issues are fantastic, and others have very little for me - I can borrow copies from the library, which is nice.

  2. That was the perfect encouragement to start my full writing day with! Thanks, Melissa. :)

  3. I think I can, I think I can...

    Actually I try not to think too much. At least not in the beginning. It's too scary!

  4. it's not supposed to be easy, it's not supposed to be easy. OK, I'm getting there!

  5. I learn so much with everything I write, it's unbelievable. It's a never ending process, a hard one but also fun. And worthwhile in the end.


  6. I'm gearing up for a big rewrite. So much to think about. You're absolutely right, it can be daunting at times. But I'm up for the challenge!

    Great post!

  7. Working, now, on my fourth novel, I forget what an unusual, dare I say *bizarre* occupation/profession novel writing is.

    But I'm reminded every time I meet someone new and they hear what I do. Eyes widen. Instantly I'm some kind of celebrity, which is just crazy--there's no one who's less a celeb than I!!

    But the fact is, writing a novel IS HARD. It took me years of musing about doing it before I was willing to even really try.

    So I admire every single person who puts nose to grindstone and writes, even if publication never comes. Just have to remember that I'm a part of that group. :-)

  8. it sometimes seems like the longer I write, the less I know. Right now I'm fighting the internal conflict brick wall. Trying to figure out if it's working or not in my current story.

    It really is a weird job though, isn't it??

  9. Yes, writing is very difficult. Sometimes I think I'm crazy to put all this work in when it really doesn't pay much in dollars. But once the writing bug has bitten, it's hard to give it up.

  10. Brilliant post Melissa, you're so right, writing is NOT meant to be easy (thank goodness - I may be on the right track after all).

    Best wishes for your editing.

    Sue :-)


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