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I’ve noticed that I oftentimes face a pause, or a slowing-down, when I finish the first act of a work-in-progress

I’m up to 30k words on this book. I’ve been doing this thing for the past year where I write an outline for the book and then delete it. Having an outline means I know what I’m aiming at. But deleting it means I’m free to deviate from it whenever I want. This book is […]

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Did lots of thinking today

Just been thinking about the kind of books that I want to write, and why I’m having so much trouble writing. Realized that part of the problem is with my skillset. Because of my background in genre fiction, I’m most used to books that have both an internal arc and an external arc. For instance, Dune‘s […]

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Sometimes the key to writing a novel is situating yourself at the right point in your protagonist’s emotional journey

Actually managed to get to chapter 2 today!!! Not sure that I’ll stay there. I’ll probably end up getting two or three chapters in and then find myself back at chapter one. It’s very strange, because I know pretty much what the world is like and the emotional journey is going to be and what’s […]

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Writing a novel is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle composed of pieces you carved yourself

I’m trying to write a whimsical children’s novel (you know, something in the style of Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket or Dianne Wynne Jones’s oeuvre), because I wasn’t in the mood to write another short story and I wasn’t in the mood to write anything long and complicated. Whimsical children’s novels (WCNs, for short) tend […]

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“Writing is something you do alone in a room”

This novel has finally reached the point where it’s flowing really well. I’m about 73,000 words in and can state with a fair bit of confidence that I am going to finish. Even if the semester ends and swamps me with work, I will finish. Even if I get super depressed (which sometimes happens around mid-winter), […]

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An age-old novel-writing question: How can I sustain a plausible love story using the minimal number of actual scenes between the two principles?

I am awful at love stories. A friend of mine was telling me the other day that all her stories are about the guys she’ve dated. I can’t even imagine doing that. It’s not that I dislike love plots. I like them alot. I find them very warm and wonderful. But I just don’t have […]

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How writing a novel is like being that one (semi-useless) superhero who can see the future

Novel-writing continues apace. It’s pretty much all I can think about, so I am going to blog about it as well. This is definitely one of the knottiest ones I’ve ever wrestled with. I got to exactly the same place (30,000 words in) where the novel failed last time. And I was about to write […]

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Novels are insanely complicated

Got thirty thousand words into the novel before realizing that I had failed to rigorously imagine one key thing (how the mother felt about something that her daughter was doing). And when I belatedly started trying to do some of that imagination work, the entire novel fell apart. Like, just completely unravelled. I realized that […]

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When to listen to your fear and when to ignore it

Something about writing novels brings out fear in the way that no other writing task seems to. They’re so big and there are so many variables and so many decisions. And the price of failure is so high. When you walk away from the wreck of a novel, you lose something–a sense of your own […]

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Welp, finished the first draft of a novel the other day

I wasn’t even going to post about it. When you finish your first novel, it’s cool because you’ve done something that’s hard to do. But when you finish your sixth, then it becomes slightly uncool because, err, when is one of these going to get published? Right now there’s a bit of a pipeline issue […]

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