Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Novel Inside - Every Single One of Us Novel Inside*

I do a lot of reading about writing.  And I do a lot of writing about living. 

But it is not deep, thought-provoking National Geographic living.  It's living-lite. 

When I start writing, I usually know how I want it to finish.  When you write about living-lite, you can usually sum it up in less than 500 words.

The thing is, I think I have a novel in me.  The other thing is, I don't know how it will end.

So do I start the novel and just see where it goes.  Or do I succomb to the natural born planner and researcher in me, and have a detailed plot and ending before I even start?

These aren't rhetorical questions.  I really want to know!

I read an article today by Delia Falconer in Australian Author** which was about writing your first novel.  She said that 'no experience is freer or more private than writing a first novel'.  This is because your first novel you write for yourself.  If you are lucky enough to write any subsequent novels, you now write for an audience.

So if I am going to do this, I should write entirely for myself, assume that no one else will ever read it, and luxuriate in the utter self-absorption and self-pleasure (yes, yes get your mind out of the gutter) it will bring.

Funnily enough, in the same edition of the magazine there was an article for new writers by Helen Barnes entitled 'Don't Quit Your Day Job'.   She offers the following sage advice:
'Find something else to do.  That's the only advice I can offer with any sincerity.  Writing is boring, hard and thankless.  It makes you paranoid, ungrateful and snippy to your loved ones'.

Well that's fortunate because I'm sure I am already those things.  Gosh if writing is going to make me merely snippy rather than the raging madwoman I already am, then surely that's an improvement. 

Maybe the key here is venting verbally in a private manner, rather than losing it at the 3YO Blonde Bombshell in a public place

Anyway, novelists/writers/readers out there, please send your advice. I really want to know.

*Apologies to INXS for this rather lame joke
**Australian Author, Vol 42, Number 3, December 2010, the official magazine of the Australian Society of Authors (of which I am a proud new member!)


  1. It's a big question and one that I have pondered many times! Now I'm not quite a novelist but I have written two novels ... just haven't got them published yet. YET! Anyway, in brief ... first one I just wrote without a plan. Was fun, but had to do a lot (LOT) of editing and rearranging and cutting and rewriting afterwards. Second one I had a "semi-detailed" plan - basically a chapter outline of three or four key points per chapter. Nothing else though (no character studies or anything). Worked much better and much less editing required. I have a third one in my head and my plan is to do about the same amount of an outline. And of course I reserve the right to totally change it as I write. I think something different works for everyone but hopefully that helps you a little!

  2. Brilliant, thanks Amanda. I am a bit impatient and hate rewrites so I am guessing having a vague outline will suit me better than having no plan whatsoever.
    The problem still remains that I don't know how I want it to end...


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