How On Earth Do You Write a Novel?

I’m attempting to write a novel. Well, I’ve attempted to write several novels, at least five that I can think of. This time, I’m attempting to finish a novel. At least a first draft.

In the past, I’ve tried free writing on the computer and in a notebook, but I always get bogged down somewhere around 50 pages.

This time, I am being methodical. I came up with an idea for a story that takes place over the course of a year. I’m breaking each month down into a week of writing. Each day of the week, I write 1000 words. That’s 60,000 words after 12 weeks. I picked 1000 words from Graham Greene’s protagonist in The End of the Affair.

I’m in my 8th week, and I’ve got 36,000 words. I have never, ever written this much of one story in my life. What’s amazing is that I’m also discovering that often I want to say a lot more than my 5,000 words allow. Not only am I going to get to the end, but I can already see what I’m going to need to do in the revising stage. Exciting!

My method might not be for everyone, but I’m glad I finally found something that works for me.

Tonight’s work read was a book I’d already read, which certainly made things easier. It was a work of non-fiction by a noted investigative journalist, but it wasn’t story-based. Tough to see how it could be a movie.

I’ll also add that I gave up on Lise Haines’s Small Acts of Sex and Electricity around p. 120. She had failed to make me care about any of her characters. Everyone felt small and mean and much of the time I felt like I didn’t know what she was talking about. I really wanted to like it, and she’s a beautiful prose stylist, but I never connected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *