Posted by: docdenbow | January 4, 2012

The Pain Of The Budding Novelist!

I have decided that I am going to write a novel this year. Or a novella. Or it might turn into a series of short stories. What I do know is that this time I will not give up halfway through. I also know that this time I’m going to try to write something serious, not overly po-faced serious, but the novel itself will be serious and not designed for laughs. I will try to put some laughs in. Oh bugger, I don’t know!

You see what I had to start with was meant to be a sort of farce, but the more of the opening chapter I’ve written, and gone back and re read, I’ve realized that the theme of my novel (God! I think that sounds so pretentious for someone like me!) does not lend itself to to being a comic novel in the way Tom Sharpe writes comic novels which was the original plan. That is without it being caustic and cruel and somewhat unbelievable.

I’m to have quite a few characters in this as well. I’m going to try to make them as three dimensional as possible. another thing is the beauty of being a word processing scribbler, I’ve got a few half baked ideas and mini plots already written. As a result I can steal from myself! As someone, dunno who, said “stealing from some else is called plagiarism; but stealing from yourself – that’s called style!” So far I’ve got about 5,000 words down. An opening chapter if you like. I’m pretty pleased with it. It’s taken a while to get it to flow and to set the tone properly. The tricky bit is the next part.

I am writing in the 1st person. People tell me that’s very difficult. I don’t find it so, probably because I’m a piss poor writer and have delusions of talent and skill. So no, that’s not the tricky bit. The opening chapter just sets the scene. Given the genre I’m writing in, I need to come uo with a great storyline and a couple of underlying plots, sub- plots, plots of land, or whatever creative writing teachers tell you that you need in terms of plots. Basically I’m screwed until I can think of a storyline that I feel that I can run with. In other words a story without a story ends up like “The Great Gatsby,” a book where bugger all seems to happen. Incidentally when I first read that I was waiting for the explosions, the gun toting wise cracking dude in a fedora. He didn’t turn up when I read it the 2nd time either. I don’t think that no matter how many times I read it that there’ll be any explosions or pistol whippings or anything like that. I guess I was reading the wrong book, by the wrong author when I was too immature to appreciate the writing brilliance.

I’ve got a few days off work now so I’m going to dive in and see whether I can get another 5,000 words down and then reflect and assess what I’ve done so far. As much as I can I’m going to write this in stages, slowly and my previous attempt I banged out 40,000 words in little over a month and as a result I felt the quality tailed off towards the end. This has no time limit. I’m aiming for quality,or what I consider to be quality. I aim to finish it too.

Ciao For Now Amigos




  1. I’m no expert Doc but this stood out – “gone back and re read.” You don’t want to do that. It’s disheartening, you need to plough forward through your first draft then re-read and edit and re-write. You cannot edit as you go, not a first draft.

    And don’t over plan your plot. A story that is twenty situations that you jump from one to another like a toad crossing lilypads will become stale and boring for you to write. I like to have an idea of a few characters, throw them in a situation in chapter one and say “There you go you assholes, get out of that or die trying!” But then I’m cruel and I like to see my characters suffering and then winning! Try writing a short story this way, it’s a lot of fun.

    Then just write. Make notes as you go so you can remember names and places and ages and dates etc but just go for it.

    That’s all the advice I can offer you.


  2. Oh, I couldn’t disagree more. Edit each paragraph until it’s perfect. then go on to the next one. That’s how I work best, anyway. Just writing don’t work for me 😉 I wish it did…

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