Last summer I got hit with a hankering to write a novel. I have read more than a hundred paranormal romance novels in the past two years and each time I have thought, “I can do this!” So I finally decided to put my money where my mouth was and give it a try.
As a former English teacher and a graduate of a very respectable state university with a BS in English Education, I figured, why not? This does not, however, mean that I have perfect grammar or always use the correct word. It means I have some good ideas and I need an editor … and spell check.
I first tried to write a novel several years ago when I had what I thought was a great premise after my husband and I cleaned out his grandmother’s incredibly disgusting and packed apartment and moved her into a care facility. We found a lot of crazy and interesting items and papers during our efforts which led to all sorts of questions and potentially mind blowing secrets.
When I got home, I started the novel. I made it about 24 pages and lost steam. I was approximately 276 pages short of a novel. I binder clipped the pages together along with my internet “research” and stuck it all into a folder, likely never to be seen or worked on again. It was dead to me.
Writing a novel is something I think lots of people secretly aspire to achieve. Being a published author would be even better. I think people assume every published author has basically hit the J.K. Rowlings lottery jackpot or can at least quit their day job.
I have been researching this assumption and it turns out it’s not exactly the case. Sure some authors hit the trifecta of published book, best seller, movie deal but most don’t. Some self-publish their literary children and others quietly stuff them into a drawer or the back of their closet under some mothballed sweaters.
It’s not easy but it is exciting to consider the possibilities.
It all starts with page one and ends 300 some pages later. Even if it’s a stinker, at least it’s an accomplishment that has a tangible result; a huge pile of paper with words you typed from your very own brain. No one else can do THAT for you.
Then if you actually finish the damn thing and want to try to publish it, there are a whole new host of obstacles to overcome. Of course, if you never finish, you’ll never have to worry about any of that.
As of today I’m on page 115 of my third novel attempt. I think this one might actually go the distance. It’s exhausting and exciting all at the same time. It’s also pretty all consuming. I’ve been working on it since August 5th of this month. I write in long hand at lunch time while I snarf down my Subway Buffalo Chicken sandwich in one of the five counties I cover for work. Later I slink off to my upstairs office until midnight most nights typing up and amending my copy from the day.
When I finally make it to bed, I can’t fall asleep because things keep happening to my story in my head and those characters just won’t shut up. My brain keeps writing the next scene and finally I have to turn the light back on and write down some notes or it will be lost forever. That’s a good problem to have. I’m not complaining about that.
Well, I’m off to write.
Page 116, here I come.