The Novel: Writing, Writing, Writing…


I feel like I’ve lived and breathed this novel, and it’s still not done.

After weeks of editing, planning, outlining, and crafting words into a more cohesive narrative, today I sat down and busted out 3,949 brand new words. That’s 15 new pages and 1 new supporting character introduced after 6 hours of writing with only 3 breaks. During one break, I washed dishes and cleaned the microwave and stove top.

Didn’t even break a sweat, save for that moment when I wanted to shout,

    “OH MY GOD, WHY DID I THINK A NEW CHARACTER WAS NEEDED? NOW I HAVE TO COME UP WITH A NEW NAME!”

His name is Walter at the moment. Just Walter. I didn’t want to waste time trying to find a suitable surname.*

Okay, and I’ll come clean: I do take frequent breaks to stare blankly at Facebook and Pinterest and annoy the crap out of people with comments and pins.

It’s been a strange relapse of writer’s block that has affected me this month. I could write loads to flesh out what I had already written before, but anything new – anything after a certain event – just wouldn’t flow correctly.

Now, however, I think the curse of writer’s block has lifted for the time being. This means I’m attacking the conclusion of my story with everything I’ve got.

However, the battle of editing has meant that one character’s existence has been wiped out completely. He was let go because it was exhausting having to remember to include him. He was a supporting character, and as the younger brother of my protagonist, he was affected by the events of the novel. Or rather, he was supposed to be. I just kept forgetting about him.

Another character has slowly diminished in her presence in the novel. Minnie will still play a role in the events of the novel, but she has lost her place as a main character and is now firmly fixed at “supporting character.” My main reason for this is simply because her story was detracting from that of my protagonist, and although I like her, it was like writing two novels in one book, and I just couldn’t keep it all straight.

However, I haven’t deleted what I’ve written for Minnie. Rather, I’ve lifted lines and ideas from those scenes and recycled them or rewritten them from other perspectives. Minnie’s life is going along fantastically off the page and in my mind, you just won’t get to read all about it.

Maybe I’ll write a sequel about her.

A moment of silence as we mourn the loss of these two characters.

*Is it just me, or does anyone else have trouble coming up with names for characters. I always want to use really bland names like “John Smith” and “Anna Jones.” Then I do a 180 and seem to think I’m Jo Rowling and my book is Harry Potter, giving my characters fantastic names that no one can pronounce.

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5 thoughts on “The Novel: Writing, Writing, Writing…

  1. I share your joys and pains with writing a novel. It’s emotionally taxing work, isn’t it? I think the hardest part is, as they say, “kill[ing] your darlings.”

  2. I hate naming characters too! First I think they need something boring and believable, then I change my mind, then I confuse myself and can’t remember who’s who. I love the novel I’m currently working on – I feel it and dream about it and really, really want to make it perfect – but I’m pretty indifferent about all of my character’s names. If an agent told me to change them, I’d do it immediately. I’m not sure that’s a good sign.

    Good luck with your rewrites. It’s really interesting to learn another’s process, so thank you for sharing. x

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