Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Time Mishaps

I've been writing for over a decade. In fact, I wrote a series, three books, before my fourth book got published. This is pretty common. Writing is sort of a "learn as you go" type of gig.  Sure you have to have a great premise. Yes, its important to take workshops and classes. Definitely read books on the craft.


You will never know what you will face when writing a novel until you're 50 thousand words deep and don't know where this is going. Or you get to 40 thousand words and figure out your story was better suited to novella.  Here's my favorite...You get to 120 thousand word and realize...this should be two separate books.

You have to write. Everyday. Give yourself time to get better. Face, overcome, and learn from your own trials during the process.

I'm giving a workshop for beginning fiction writers and I get a lot of the same topics during the question and answer period. There seems to be common problems that crop up with first novels. So I thought I'd list a few of them and see what you other writers and readers have found in your own journey.

  • The middle sags - you get to a certain point and realize that your characters aren't really doing anything.
  • Your secondary character became more interesting - the whole Luke/Han Solo phenomenon. Sidekick takes over plot.
  • You finished your story too soon - Everything falls into place according to plan and BAM!...the end -- on page 150.
  • Your story is too long - You're on page 800 of your hero's journey and he still hasn't rescued the babe.
  • You have a series of pointless battles and/or car chases -  Because...well you like to write those. And that's conflict, right?
Over the course of the next couple weeks, I will go over each reason a first novel hits these snags and methods to overcome them.

And for those who have completed a novel...what was the hardest part? What roadblocks did you hit and how did you deal? What did you learn from the experience?

Until next time...Go Write!