Let’s Be Honest: Writing a Novel is Complicated (Midweek Novel Update #20)


There are major differences between stand-alone novels, novel series and novel series with prequels. The nice thing about stand-alone novels is you get to figure out, and answer, most of the burning questions the readers have before the book comes to an end. And then it’s over and you can move on.

When you’re writing a series, the process is long, drawn-out and frustrating.

When your series requires a prequel, things get complicated.

My brain hurts.

Last week I spared you from a new update about my novel-writing progress because there wasn’t much to update you on. I am at the point in the writing process where I’m just doing all I can to get it done. It’s not all great writing and I’m going to have to go back and do a lot of editing when I’m finished (as one does).

I just want this first draft behind me. That’s all I want.

I may not be just cranking out words for the sake of filling in the gaps (I do put a lot of thought into what I’m doing as I’m doing it) but sometimes that’s what it feels like. When you’re at the point I’m at, you can’t always go back and fix things and the thought of adding new things is terrifying and makes you, quite honestly, want to start punching walls.

Sometimes I catch my own continuity errors mid-paragraph and have to go back really quick and highlight sections, color-coordinated, which I need to make sure I go back to when editing and make sure they match up.

Sometimes I realize a piece of dialogue is mostly pointless and I won’t be able to keep it in later drafts.

Sometimes I figure out nothing other than the connection I’m trying to make between point A and point B makes no sense, and I still don’t know how I’m going to fix it later. I just know I’ll need to.

It really gets frustrating when I try to weave in foreshadowing, knowing it’s going to be important later in the series even though it doesn’t make sense now. Sometimes I know what the endpoint of a particular plot line is, but I have no idea how to get my characters there.

I think people who aren’t writers must think we’re amazing, because from the outside, from the viewpoint of the finished product, it looks like we were actually smart enough to figure out how to tie everything together, boom, just like that.

Except that’s a lie, because we don’t always have all the answers. Or I don’t, at least. I don’t know if my beginning and ending come full circle the way I need them to, I don’t know if character x’s motive is too obvious or not clear enough. I don’t know if any of the sci-fi stuff makes sense outside my head. I don’t know if my MC’s character flaw is big enough, significant enough.

I worry that this is all just going to keep going on and on forever, that I’m never going to finish before NaNoWriMo, that even when I’m finished with this first draft, it will never make it past that stage.

I must really believe this is all worth it, or that it will be someday, because I have no idea what I’m doing and each day that passes, each day that I’m still not done yet, it seems less and less worth the effort.

But if I can push through it, if I can keep going, you can, too. GO! GO! GO!!!!!

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

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