My life stories

Reflections of a Novice Novelist.

Before last fall, I never saw myself writing a novel. Stories and articles for children’s magazines and blogging we’re about the extent of my vision. (And they are all rewarding, even pre-publishing.)

Then I decided to start writing down my tiny vision as a short story for a modified NaNo last year. Immediately, characters presented themselves, settings grew and gathered details, and before I knew it, that little idea based off two images made itself clear as a middle grade novel.

It’s been a delight and a difficulty. I feel like I’m the novice being unexpectedly ushered into that prestigious group of-Novelists. And with this sort of membership comes various highs and lows.

Writing is work-no doubt. I may not be getting a paycheck yet, but sweat, blood, and tears are most certainly involved. and sometimes, doubts are too. There are times where I look at the scene(s) I’ve been working on for the past hour and a half. It doesn’t look anything like I want it to, my characters have morphed the dialogue into something like a breakfast scene from Downton Abby, and my inner teenager is bubbling under a thin surface, threatening to burst forth at any minute with a “I HATE this! I CAN’T write! THIS WILL NEVER WORK!”

Perhaps one of my most worst fears regarding my novel is that, by the time I’ve finished it, someone will have already written it and written it better than I have. What if my characters aren’t unique enough, relatable enough? What if my setting is too contrived? What if kids read it and go, “I coulda told you that was coming.”

Even then, I always come back to why I started this novel in the first place. I have to write it because the story is in me, and I have to get it out.  I’ll be restless and unsatisfied until I do. So it’s a fight to ignore the negative voices in my head. To jump at opportunities for growth in writing skills. To keep practicing. There may be only seven recognizable plots in the world, (or is it ten? I can’t remember) but only I can write this story. And once it’s done, and someday published, there will be another story. And then the beautiful restlessness will be mine to struggle through all over again.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections of a Novice Novelist.

  1. Those fears area always there, but don’t let them stomp out the story inside of you. Like you said, it’s there and you’ll be unsatisfied until it’s told. And don’t worry too much about someone writing the same sort (and doing it better) before you do. All stories have similar traits, but no two are alike. (And, if it makes you feel any better, upon hearing a summary of my first novel, one of my students immediately told me that it sounds like The Lion King. lol)

  2. having read the rough rough draft…your characters have life & depth & uniqueness, absolutely. it’s going to be beautiful. & it doesn’t have to be “flawless”! aren’t some stories perfect within themselves partly because of some of their little flaws? i think so. but idk I’m not a writer. and now I’m rambling…

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