We’re all writers here, in some form or another. And, I’m sure, many of us aspire to be novelists. I see a lot of advice on the internet, a lot of what-to-do and what-not-to-do, but I don’t see a lot of what-I’m-doing. That is, I don’t see a lot of documented struggles that I can relate to. As such, this series is here to fill that void and document my struggles in writing that first book.
This is the second post in this series. For the first post, click here.
By the time I was starting college, I finally had an outline of the first couple of books I was happy with. I had developed a writing style I was proud of. Finally, I felt, it was time to really get started.
I started writing in the summer, so I would have time to throw myself into the draft without school and work interfering. For awhile, things went smoothly. I started the story the same way I had always planned on starting the story – with the death of the main character. This isn’t one of those American Beauty type things, where you know the character is dead throughout the whole novel. Rather, it’s a dark urban fantasy thing that, the plot of which – as previously stated – I had taken years to develop.
I was about forty pages in when I got stuck. I was stuck for months, and it was awful. Nearly every day I would open the document and stare at, hoping the solution would come to me. All these years of work, I’d barely even gotten started, and now I was stuck!
It took my some time – time spent completely ignoring my story to reboot it in my mind – but I finally realized what the problem was. I was writing the story linearly. I don’t do anything linearly. In essence, I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do to make a good novel, not what my novel needed me to do. So what happened next? I put the forty pages I had into a separate document and started over. I wrote a new prologue, and I started the story right in the middle. In doing this, I ensured that the reader wouldn’t know anything about my main character’s past before she did. And the story blossomed.
I got something like fifty pages in when it became time to return to the original opening. I put it back into the story, now showing up fifty pages in rather than right at the start. And, for maybe the first time, it felt like everything was falling into place. This reminded me of the greatest advice I can give any writer:
Never do what you think you’re suppose to. Do what you feel is right, and your story will thank you for it.
When I finally just let go and did what I wanted, the story started falling into place. But, of course, things weren’t all smooth sailing from there.
That’s it for Part 2. Stay tuned for Part 3. In the meantime, how did you get started with your story? Feel free to leave a comment or link me to a blog response! Thanks for reading!