Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writing is difficult

This past Sunday I started the first draft of my first novel. It is a young adult paranormal mystery that I'm targeting for 50,000 words. I have the entire novel mind-mapped with computer software. I know the beginning, middle, and end. All I have to do is power through the first draft.

I'm 689 words into this novel and it's so difficult I could throw up.

There's so much to account for:
  1. Show, don't tell.
  2. Don't use passive voice.
  3. Don't overwrite.
  4. Use past tense for the main story, use past perfect for prior events.
  5. Stay in the viewpoint.
  6. Develop the characters.,
  7. Move the plot forward.
  8. Keep it interesting.
  9. Keep it entertaining.
  10. Don't shoot yourself in the head because you're so frustrated you don't want to go on.
689 words and I'm already questioning my ability to do this. It's so much easier to just give up. And this is supposed to be the fun part! Do you know what lies ahead? Critique groups, the second draft, query letters, and (maybe) partial requests, and (far less probable) full requests. And years of rejection letters. Maybe a lifetime of rejection letters. Maybe the only person who will ever read my books is my wife, and that's assuming I can even finish one.

I'm already 40. Is twenty or thirty years enough time to write these stories, revise the drafts, and improve my writing enough to get published? Or should I have started this whole process when I was twenty?

Now that that's off my chest, time to get back to the book.


  1. Writing is difficult, I agree. And the first draft of your first novel is the hardest. Just try and write this one without thinking about all those rules. Because the more you writer and revise the more those rules become a part of your writing! You can do it.

  2. Yes, keep writing!! Even if I am the only one who gets to read it. I know it's going to be awesome. I have total faith that you can do this, and I support all your efforts. You will rock this book!

  3. Thanks to Laura and my wife, Deanna! Somehow I managed to pound out 700 more words last night, and I feel a bit better about what I wrote.

  4. I think you might be overthinking this a little. Just write. From A to Z, say what you want to say and edit after. The editing process is where things take life. If you keep thinking about all this, you'll jump from a ledge before finishing.

    Also, to hell with the rules. If you see that your disrespect of the rules handicaps the story, then correct. If not, it doesn't matter. They are not dogma.

    I will quote the writer's mantra: You can't edit a blank page.