Discovering My Own Novel

Happy Friday world!

It reached about 1030 today and I realised that I hadn’t put together a blog post for the week: thank goodness for ‘to do’ lists! I’ve also been somewhat distracted from all material and worldly things while observing the strange contortions of a mammoth grasshopper who I think might be stuck in my study window (don’t worry, as soon as this is done, I’ll see if there’s some way he can be rescued).

Anyway! I’ve been really enjoying some free writing adventures this week which have been taking me in weird directions, but I wanted to chat about my novel: gasp, shock, horror: the unspoken of for god-knows how long novel?! Yes, everyone, the novel.

For the good of humanity (as I firmly believe) I have never yet allowed anyone to read my novel. I’m not being overly humble here (in fact, I worryingly believe that there are some really good parts of it, which sucks, because it means when someone tells you exactly what’s not great about it, it’s just going to be incredibly crushing, but anyway)… It’s just that it’s not ready. It’s still a ridiculous 130 000 words, riddled with bizarre twists and turns that seem to connect to nothing at all, and my characters need something more.

In fact, I’m always worried about my novel’s depth. Depth of character, depth of description, depth of plot and depth of setting. I mean I WASN’T worried about this when writing it: I just let myself get carried away and it was pretty great, but now I’m like “hot damn, I really need to make sure there’s a back story, that things mean something, that I look like I know what I’m doing.” I need to discover the framework underlying it all.

So I’m writing about my various characters’ pasts. Though my MC is fourteen, there are various other characters who are much older than her and have varied and fascinating lives prior to the start of the novel.. And I want to know what those pasts are. I want to know them intimately. I want to be ridiculously well-acquainted with these characters that I can tell their life story to anyone who asks, and be able to understand why they react the ways they do in my novel… And I’m nowhere near that. Which is, on one hand, kind of frustrating because it seems like there is so much work to do, and then on another level it’s kind of cool, because I have a whole heap more discovering to do.  I’m figuring out how to make sure I am that well-informed about my characters, and for me, that means wondering what their lives looked about before my novel, and what it means for who they are a person. If their initial reaction to danger is to flee, why? If they’re excellent with a sword, who taught them?

Hardly surprisingly, that is a loooooong process. And also I tend to keep getting distracted by other strange paths my brain wants to take me down in the pre-dawn glare of my desk lamp. But I think I’m gradually accepting that my novel is huge—the idea behind it is enormous, the worlds within it are complex, the characters are incredibly varied—and making something like that even semi-decent is going to take time. Maybe a lot of time. With only putting about 30 minutes into writing every day, there’s not a lot of wiggle room for revising my novel… Especially because sitting down to edit never gives me the writing shivers in the way that exploring a new idea does. So it’ll have to wait—until when, I’m not sure. When I’m ready, when uni is quieter? The future, it’ll have to wait until the future sometime. In the interim, I’m enjoying finding out the deep, dark secrets of my characters’ pasts and traversing their world with them. Hopefully some day I won’t be the only one!

Bulk uni work beckons, and who can resist that siren call?

Have a great weekend everyone.

–Ana

Comments

3
  1. Sounds like you’ve got the best attitude possible Ana – accepting that you don’t have much time for writing but using it wisely to expand the world you’ve created! Look forward to reading it one day once your name is up in lights 🙂

    • Thanks Nik! It’s always great to hear from you: your faith means a lot to me 🙂

      • Your enthusiasm is always infectious – as a grumpy old cynic I can only hope the joy and ambition of the likes of you, Noel and the few others I follow rubs off on me!!

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