Ten Stages of Writing Your Novel

  1. Wow! I have a really great idea. This idea is fantastic. This is going to be amazing. How has no one written this novel before? It’s brilliant. This will be brilliant
  2. I’m so impressed with myself. Look at all the words I’ve written! Words, words, and more words!
  3. Um. I’m not sure what happens next and how my plot gets from point A to point B. I’m gonna figure it out, though.
  4. Wow. The messy middle of this book is truly a messy middle. Um. This is a total mess. I’m not sure how I’m going to wrap it up. How can I possible get to the ending I need?
  5. Oh! That’s how it can resolve! Huh, look at that! Wow, I have a draft. I have an entire draft of the novel. I am amazing. I am a writer.
  6. Okay, time to edit. Oh. Oh, wow. Oh no. What the hell? This is complete and utter shit. This book sucks. It makes no sense. I can drive a truck through that plot hole. What is my character doing here? Why would she even do that? My prose is the most hackneyed of awful prose there ever was. Why did I write this? How could I write 70k of the most awful prose in the history of prose? I can’t fix this. I should delete it. No, I should print it out and burn it and bury the ashes. OMG. I cannot ever let anyone read this.
  7. All right, let’s think. Surely there’s salvageable stuff here. Hmm. Crap. There’s not. It’s still shit.
  8. Self, this is a first draft and not a final masterpiece. Give this a chance. Hmm. Haha, oh, look, that bit’s actually kind of funny. And, wow, did I write that? I love that paragraph. And look at that part–that doesn’t make sense, but what if I tweak it a little this way and I tweak that part a little the other way and I add this section here. Yeah. Huh. Yeah. This might work.
  9. Okay, now I’ve reworked the whole thing. I can’t believe the editing and re-writing have taken three times as long as the actual drafting. Maybe I need just one or two more run-throughs, just in case.
  10. You know what? This doesn’t suck. This actually turned out kind of almost pretty okay. I think I’m ready to get feedback from some other folks. I think they might even kind of like it. I kind of like it! I really think I do. You did a decent job on this, self.

 

Coming next: The Ten Stages of Getting Critique on Your Novel Draft

Old vintage typewriter

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