I’ve been working feverishly on my novel for the past several months. It’s easy to start a project, but following through and addressing all of the obstacles that arise takes work and dedication. I began my book a few years ago and set it aside for quite a while to focus on my family, job, and writing shorter prose.
I like writing short prose pieces because I can write them from start to finish in the same day. I usually write a short story, proofread it, and then set it aside for a few days before going back to polish it. The entire process is quick enough that I can have it out for submission within days of conceiving the idea.
Novels are completely different in their magnitude. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started my project. I envisioned writing a chapter per week and being completely finished within a year. Ah, the days of blissful dreaming!
I am what’s known as a pantser or pants writer. That means I rarely outline my stories. I write by the seat of my pants. I just sit down and start writing. Since this is my first novel, I did try to plan ahead. I had a rough outline (on a clock face like Dusty Richards taught me) of my plot and a few character sketches when I started the book, but it flew out the window several chapters ago. I hadn’t planned on my characters coming to life and hijacking my story.
My brain likes to branch off in different directions. I was making good progress when I introduced a character who was supposed to play a very minor role in the story. This character is a sixteen-year-old boy who has become a major character and insinuated himself into being integral to the plot. He was never part of my original plan, but once I created him, he became more and more important as the book progressed. It is through this character that my story developed the depth and dimension I was seeking.
The boy is not the only character who has surprised me with his importance. A deceased ancestor of my one of my characters has also taken on great importance. Though he passed away many years before my story takes place, it was his actions during his lifetime which created the stumbling blocks that my main character must overcome.
I hope to have my book in the hands of my trusted beta readers by the end of next month. That goal may be overly ambitious, but I believe in aiming high. Once my beta readers are finished and have given me their feedback, I will edit again. If I’m happy with the book at that point, I will look into hiring an editor.
I look forward to the day when I can tell my readers that my book is available. Until then, please know that I’m working to make my book the very best story possible. In the meantime, there are some great books available by my friends and other local authors. I encourage you to seek out your own local authors. You might be surprised by the homegrown talent in your area.
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