Everyone Has A Novel Inside Them
Some of us, however, need a crowbar and a number of large men to get it out. Writing a novel isn’t easy, just ask the legions of published and unpublished novelists out there, and getting your novel read by anyone other than family and close friends is even harder.
I have tried writing the great British novel and it is a lot harder than it looks. I have ideas and more ideas bubbling out of me – plots, first lines, first chapters, plot twists, the lot. The only problem is that when I see them written down, they look awful and make me feel ill. The message here is to practice practice practice.
This blog was started to give me that practice – I thought that if I was able to experience regularly putting my thoughts down that some massive creative flow would be breached and I would be knocking out a novel a week. And short stories when I had five minutes to spare.
Check my posting dates – you will see that I am either lazy, uninspired or lazy and uninspired.
There are a number of resources out there for the budding author. Stephen King gave us “On Writing” which, among other things, discusses how he writes his novels. It is pretty typical of any book by an author – he says to practice, to have your own ideas, to find your own voice – it’s full of general ideas, but not a carefully laid instruction manual. So that was of little help to me.
I remember a time when ideas flowed from me directly on to the page. I am sure we all do – it was during childhood and my teen years. I was a true writing genius at that time. If only I’d had an agent.
I think that as you hit adulthood, your “inner censor” steps in and says things like “she wouldn’t really say that” or “wasn’t that a book you read two weeks ago?” or any number of things which prevent you from writing that novel. We….I….need to learn to ignore that censor and to just get the words on the page and worry about them later.
For anyone who would like to have their words out there, you have several options:
1. Write short stories and submit them to magazines, newspapers, competitions or anywhere that will take them. Hopefully, you will be given constructive criticism which will help you with the next work.
2. Submit your work either to an agent or to a publisher. Again, constructive criticism will help sharpen what you write. Note: any agent who wants money up front to represent you should be removed from your address book – if your work is good enough to be published they will get money from their cut. If it isn’t, no amount of money will make it publishable.
3. Self publish. Also known as Vanity Publishing. You basically pay to publish your work without going through those troublesome publishers who will only want something which will sell so they can recoup their costs and make money for their shareholders.
4. Post it online. Either through your own site or through something like NaNoWriMo – the National Novel Writing Month. From their About page:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
My point is that the only way to write a novel is to write it. And the only way to know if it’s any good is to read it and to have it read.
All I have to do now is put that into practice …..