I was having a conversation with someone the other day and we touched on the difficulty and the process of writing a novel. He asked about the amount of information needed and hinted on it being very difficult. Also he commented on how my spelling and grammar is not the best.
These are two very good points and it got me thinking. The process of writing a hundred thousand words plus novel is probably the most complex and complicated thing I have ever done.
It’s not just the start, middle and end thing but the main story ark and all the small story arks within them. Each novel has chapters that must have a protagonist and an antagonist. They must have intrinsic and extrinsic conflict with them selves and each other. Maybe even with many other characters as well. The chapter has to have a start middle and end, each chapter has to have scenes and those scenes have to have a start middle and end. This rule applies to the pages and the paragraph. Even each and every sentence has to have a purpose. If it has no purpose then it has no right being in the book.
Also the characters have to have profiles, people don’t realise that even though we writers don’t put the past twenty years of a characters life in the novel, they do have a life before the story. Thats each character has a whole book inside my head already. They have lived and had good and bad times before strolling into what ever situation that my storyline has given them.
Each novel has at least three main threads to it. And many more minor threads through out. And thats just the one I’m currently working on. I don’t know about other writers but I have one finished and thirteen unfinished novels and many more short Stories floating around my head at any one time.
All this is inside my head. Maybe I should say sorry for the times when I’m a bit forgetful or distracted. I have good reasons but I promise there not excuses.
As for spelling and grammar all I can say is if you ask a builder to build you a house he will get the bricks (for a writer his brick are the words) and place them all in order following a predesigned plan. The architect would have spent many hours and days drawing out his vision of a building and the builder puts this together. As a writer I don’t pretend to be a good builder but I’m a good architect. I can design the book and work on all the plot lines and all story arks, character profiles. But I may need a little help at time to put it together at the end. Please don’t forget the creativity and passion that I have poured into my prose. For my head is full of many lives, young, old, thin, and fat, Human, animal and alien alike. I have whole civilisations being created and being destroyed in my head. To say a writers mind is a busy mind is probably one of the most understated comments ever made.
Wow September the 8th, I get to this part of the year and it brings to mind that the year is about to enter its fourth and final quarter.
My birthday is in just over a week on the seventeenth and although this once filled me with wishes and expectation when I was younger, it now makes me look back on the last twelve months and take account of what goals I have made. What I have accomplished and even more so, what I have not accomplished in the last year.
For one, I said I would have sent my manuscript out to an agent. And buy and large I suppose I did, only it keeps coming back complete with rejection letters. I wanted to start a new novel, Not a sci-fi but a crime thriller, and that is on its way. I’m at least a third of my way to finishing the first draft. I’m very excited about this one. Its fast and gritty, with honest characters that are filled with many conflicting values and principals. Its great to write about bad guy turned good and god guy turned bad. They say the secret to a good book is conflict, and inner conflict is even better it is also a great motivator.
Its no secret that I’m a great sci-fi fan but the crime thriller genre is a page turner for sure.
The novel’s called, “The Promise” it follows a father and a promise he made to his wife sixteen years earlier. He is bad guy turned good. The only thing is a bad life has a habit of coming back, wanting its flesh even when you have no more to give. The promise he makes is about his daughter who has just turned sixteen. She has no idea what her father once was, where he made the money they live by today. How will she cope with the idea of living off blood money?
I really do love this one, and I hope so will the agents and publishes when its finished.
In the mean time my other novel “Purple” is still out there awaiting representation so any up and coming agents fancy a read and I haven’t sent it you then please don’t be shy.
A friend of mine was on his annual holiday and by chance bumped into an agent at a hotel bar. The conversation moved on to my friend telling her that he knew someone who was trying to get published. (Thats me he is talking about, incase you were wondering.) She told my friend the same as every writer out there knows. They have many thousands of query letters and synopsis per month and it all starts with the query letter, if thats ok then its the synopsis and if their still reading then its the first fifty pages or so and if you are still in the running, then they request the full manuscript. And even then you are likely to be rejected. Its a numbers game, a mood game. For instance if the agent had a bad night and had had enough of sci-fi then the next sci-fi novel would not get past the query stage.
In the end you can have the best query in the world and a synopsis that would bring tears of joy to the eyes. A manuscript that any full time author would give his right eye for. Your query can still be binned at the first glance.
I try not to take this as a negative but to reassure myself that if I keep sending them out and keep writing more, then one day it will be my manuscript that the agent see’s, and that day they were looking for a manuscript just like mine.
I have made big improvements in my personal life, finically and emotionally. I look forward to what I have to come in this next year, who knows what may come.
Self improvement, I like this. I think I have believed in self improvement most of my life. Well at least as long as I have thought about myself as a thing that can be improved. So probably from the age of six or so. Either way I have believed in a simple rule most of my life, that rule is, ‘Given enough time and dedication, anyone can achieve anything that has been achieved before.’ Whether it be rocket science or brain surgery, a plumber or a writer.
I began writing story’s later in life than most. Writing my first draft of a novel by the age of thirty eight. Since then I have wrote two more novels and a bunch of short story‘s.
I am writing the forth draft of my first novel. While doing this I have noticed a vast difference in the quality of my writing. This is to the point where I have thought, on more than one occasion of scrapping it. Putting it a draw so to speak and letting it never see the light of day. The only reason that Purple is still around is that I have wrote a sequel. And it is technically a much better book than the first.
This is where self improvement comes in. I recently started a new job for a very large company that is known throughout the world as an innovator and has a constant drive to high quality of its products and personnel. Now most, if not all company’s would say this as part of there mission statements. But as I constantly assess my work, always looking to improve the sentence, the paragraph or the chapter. So does my new employer strive on a daily basis to improve not the products but the people that make them. I’m am encouraged to do this each and every day in the hunt for zero mistakes. This is done through constant improvement not by someone in an office, who is disconnected from me but by me and the people I work with.
We improve ourselves each time we learn something new. Goals are important too to attain a high leave of quality, whether it be a hobby or a job. But it is not the goal that makes us improve on a personal level, it’s the process of attaining that goal that makes us grow and become a better person. To strive for something better is to learn. Self improvement is very much about the journey, so aim high and don’t get to hung up on the target, after all you can always make the target bigger if you keep missing.
Some writers only write science fiction novels, others romance and poems. Some only write non-fiction such as technical manuals on boats and cars. Some focus only on one genre and others on many.I think that when starting out like myself, we can get drawn into writing only what we know. But I believe we grow through what we write. We explore our selves while learning about others, discovering how people think. Interact with many and ask questions to even more. I know this is true because I’m like a child when first meeting someone with a different take on life. I just cannot stop asking questions.
So when it comes to genres, well I want to try them all. So far I have wrote a science fiction novel and a supernatural thriller. I am working on a crime thriller now. I have enjoyed writing every one and hope to write many more. With the books making the rounds i.e. The Shades of Grey Trilogy, I’m thinking of having a go at romance. As I see it, I’m just widening my writing horizons every time I write in a different genre. So lets not pigeon hole ourselves and write free.
I’m trying to work out what the problem is with getting words on the page. It’s like I have thousands of words in my mind but when I start to write I get tripped up on the smallest of things. I can see where I want the characters in my book to go but when my fingers hover over the key board, I stall. It’s like someone has put a sheet over my head and I can just make out the details through the fabric, but only if I concentrate.
If I get up to put the kettle on for a drink or leave to do something simple like stretch my back. Then Wham, the sheet is lifted off my head and I see it all again. As soon as I sit my but down in the chair, then down comes the sheet. It would be fantastic if I could plug my mind into the computer, I would finish a novel a day.
I remember reading somewhere that writing a novel is like holding a hammer and chisel.
Before you is the complete story, but it’s encased in solid stone. Its my job as a writer to chip away slowly and mithodickly, uncovering the story that’s held within the stone. Always being careful not to damage the treasure inside.
I think that sometimes my arm is just too tired to Weald that hammer. maybe a day off is needed.
Well I suppose I’m now published. My short story Destiny’s Crossing went live yesterday and yes I have already sold some, no reviews as yet though. Its kind of strange, I looked at the story on the Amazon web site and immediately wanted to change the cover. Someone commented that you should never cut off peoples Limbs. Not knowing what they meant I quickly checked out the book cover and there plane as day, I had cut off the mans feet. I have since adjusted it on the templet and it looks a lot better for it, so thanks for the tip. Why I did this in the first place I just don’t Know. I will update the Cover later tonight, hell, I might even change the cover. It just shows you that when you decide that the cover is done, you better make sure it is. Because if this was a print book, I would be pretty much stuffed about now. Luckily for me I am finding my feet and this will not cost me to change it.
It’s cool that people are buying it, I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, I have many more short stories and I will put them on Amazon. I will need to pay a bit more attention to my covers in future though.
If you are interested In Buying Destiny’s Crossing then click on this link Destiny’s Crossing, and please leave me a review.
Comments are always welcomed on the blog, I do really like them.