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Writing novels turns out to be difficult….

July 13, 2013

I haven’t posted in a while… hello the screaming void.

Let me tell you why…

…writing novels appears to be surprisingly difficult. And it doesn’t actually get easier. From my now vast experience of nearly having a whole novel that I will nearly be submitting to agents that I expect are panting with expectation, writing a novel is:

1. Hard. There are only twenty-six letters in the English language. Your job is to arrange them into pretty patterns. And yet.

2. Soul destroying. You lay out everything you are in black and white, and its not really enough, even for a light hearted young adult fantasy adventure.

3. Technical. I have an MA in creative writing. I have read a lot of novels. This should translate, right? Wrong. I spent two months writing a chapter that was both boring and pointless. It felt cleaner after the cut. But also it hurt.

4. Lonely. People don’t understand what you are doing and why it’s hard. You just type, right? In a comfortable room away from annoying people or heavy machinery. You are outstanding lucky to be creating art. So you look like a dick when you complain. But its lonely, and people look at you funny when you explain how your imaginary people are giving you trouble.

5. Unpleasant. I actually don’t really like writing. I like having written, I like thinking about stories, I like planning. I hate actually arranging the twenty-six letters in a pattern that manages to convey the complex worlds, people and things I have in my head to another person in a way that makes sense, and preferably is pretty.

6. I said hard, right? I am painfully aware of the amount of work I need to do in order to be a competent or good writer. I am at the bottom of a mountain. I hope when I finish this thing I will have scaled a small hillock of the foothills. One day, in ten or twenty years maybe I will be able to call myself a writer and not feel like an embarrassed lying liar.

Now I can see the end, new fears keep popping up. Other people will soon see the thing (first nice friendly other people like my Mum, and my writing friends, then scary people like agents) and they will judge me and find me wanting – even if they really like the book! And then there is the fact that Elizabeth, my main character, and Himself (her demon who lives in her brain and is helpfully sarcastic)  now are part of me. And I will be sad to see them go.


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  1. Yes. To everything.
    It’s hard and scary and uncomfortable and sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and not type another word, ever. And then I sit down and start again.
    A thought though. Writers are always at the bottom of the mountain because you can’t write the same novel twice *looks hard at Dan Brown* and writing makes you grow as a person which changes how you write and … yes, I’m trying to describe and infinity loop, I think.
    It isn’t easy. Nothing worth doing is, really *tries to pretend she hasn’t just resorted to cliché*
    Sending hugs, K x

    • Yes to the infinity loop. Or a spiral. You are in the same place again, but also further on… I hope.
      Thanks for commenting. I look forward to reading yours someday!

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