Slowly slowly, catchy novel(y)
By cripes and jiminy, my novel is coming on slowly! This is fine in a way. Once completed it will be the first novel I have penned ’til the end. But it doesn’t half create some uncertainty.
Of course, there is always a degree of hand-wringing self-doubt, but because I write so little, novel writing is a very lengthy process. There is so much more time for those pesky “what if”s to sneak in and resume their steady excavation of buried fears.
I have decided to write the first quarter of the book, stop, probably work on something else for a month, then read and edit before continuing with the second quarter. This is a carefully considered plan that allows for the fact that I will take a long time to write it, and therefore allows me to
- work on other things
- remind myself what’s happened so far
- review what will happen going forward
What if it’s no good?
I haven’t read any of it back to myself yet. What if it’s completely useless? Well, this one is not such a mystery. I have pretty much accepted that the whole thing will be rubbish. That’s what happens with a first draft, so fine, whatever. Although I’m sure my first read will be a dispiriting event, at least I will have something I can work with. More concerning is…
What if I don’t know how to edit it properly?
Seriously, what if I can’t make it better, or everything a I do makes it terrible in a different way? This one does give me butterflies, I have to admit. I imagine sitting down to read it and finding that there’s not enough; that I have to pad it out where everyone else has to cut (cutting, I have no real with by the way).
I imagine that it reads too fast, that the pacing is all lopsided, that entire pages are devoid of detail, or are simply uninteresting; that I can’t build a scene, I can’t describe a place or a person, I can’t give someone a convincing voice… Can’t, can’t, can’t. On and on. And people say there’s no such word.
Which is an odd thing to worry about now that I think about it. I have never ever had a problem editing longer work from anyone else. In fact, I have found editing a much more enjoyable experience than writing sometimes. Again, I think the fear is that there won’t be enough there, or that it’s so bad that the whole thing has to be rewritten. Neither have been a problem when reviewing someone else’s work.
What if I never finish?
Yes, there is always the fear of abandonment. I am bucking everyone’s advice by deciding to stop at a “convenient” place and pick it up later. Maybe instead I should go on a little longer, or break a little sooner, so I can continue in something of a flow when I return to write fresh pages.
I will probably do that – it sounds like a good idea. But refusing to work on it for weeks could still lead to a catastrophic stall and so the fear remains. I shall have to leap straight in with both feet when I write the next part.
Well, I’m glad I got that off my chest anyway. It does help sometimes to acknowledge your fears, but I think that’s quite enough for now. Dwelling on them too long can be dangerous. If you have something niggling doubts why not share them yourself in the comments?