Commitment

Writing a novel is a big commitment.

What are we committing to when we give in to the nagging and start to put pen to paper? (or fingers to keyboard. Pick your poison.)

We are committing time.

Writing a novel takes time. A lot of time. Even if you do a NaNoWriMo challenge, you’re still going to be looking at putting between 10,000 and 30,000 words on the end of your winning total. Don’t forget that the actual writing takes place after the planning and research, which in itself can take months.

We are committing our thoughts

Character and plot development take a lot of working out. We might not look like we’re doing anything when we’re staring blankly at the wall, but in fact we are running over a piece of dialogue or a scene and working out those kinks.

We are committing our headspace

Once that character is there it’s like a permanent stain. And even if you can control it during your waking hours, be prepared to be waling your character through their lives while you dream.

We are committing ourselves to heartache

Yep, when you write the words The End on that first draft, it’s going to hurt like hell.

We are committing ourselves to our characters

You, Writer, are the only person alive who knows this character. They deserve to have a chance at the world.

A couple of weeks ago, I reached the commitment stage with an idea I had been playing with for a while.  My character is much more messy than I intended and she was there, loud and proud and I was ready so I took her in and started to write her story.

Now I want a divorce.

She’s a nutter.

Not only is she a nutter but she’s left me and I’m considering some flirtatious antics with another novel.

Looks like I wasn’t as committed as I thought!

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8 responses to “Commitment

  1. I love the way you talk about your novel characters like they are real people. It’s so exciting. I don’t think I could write a book. I did nanowrimo a couple of years ago when I was stuck in bed sick. It was fun but I didn’t get to the end and it was an awful story! I did start to play with rewriting it but I can’t last the distance of a novel.

    Perhaps it is good to have an affair – might bring her back in a fit of jealous rage!

    • I read this comment yesterday and now cannot stop thinking about the whole affair thing. LOVE IT!

      She’s still there but she uncovered some serious UGLY so I had to shelve her (hopefully I’ll be writing about this for next linky).

      Novels are hard. I have problems at 20k, 45k and then the bit after a nano. Most of my novels are short (50-70k). I’ve managed one at 80k and its sequel is currently 100k prior to edits.

  2. Loved this post… and I think that’s why I am stalling on finishing the end of my first draft, I feel very emotional about it, like I don’t want it to end. X

  3. maddy@writingbubble

    you’re right! I think these are some of the reasons I keep writing short stories instead of knuckling down and getting on with my book – it’s such a huge undertaking I get intimidated! But when I do dedicate some time to it I get really caught up with the characters so I can imagine that what you say about heartache is true. I quite like the idea of your nutter – maybe you should give her another chance?

  4. I have managed to finish two first drafts and half written a third novel. I find that I stumble in the middle but once I know where the story is going I storm to the end and find it invigorating when I type ‘The End’. However, I feel that pain. It’s as if I’ve said goodbye to friends I’ve been spending lots of time with for months.

    I have not yet managed to finish a re-write or edit. My re-writes tend to bring new ideas for the story and I get so bogged down in the details that I forget why I was writing the story in the first place. This week I have promised myself to get back to it. I’m going to finish an edit and finish the novel. If. It. Kills. Me.

    It is such a journey, writing a novel. I think you should flirt some more with your character, she sounds like a hoot! Learning about our characters, their flaws, their bad sides, isn’t that the point? I love the baddies – they’re the most fun. 😉

    • I think I’ve totalled something like 8 first drafts now, mainly through NaNoWriMo challenges and sheer determination. I’m not good at getting through edits either, so totally feel your pain here. Funnily enough, I find editing other people’s things much easier than my own.
      I’ve gone back to her tonight actually. She’s still intense and it’s heavy going because it’s still uncovering things about myself.
      Keep going, Morgan. You’ll get there!

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