Why Is This So Complicated?!
My first novel is officially in the works. I didn’t realize how much planning goes into novel writing until I decided to actually do it. This is nothing like anything else I’ve ever written, and there is a lot that needs to be sorted out beforehand. Usually I just sit down and see what comes from my fingertips as inspiration hits. The problem with novel writing is that even though inspiration is needed, it simply isn’t enough to sustain the story in a way that people will be willing to commit hours to reading. I mean, I get bored after a few paragraphs when I’m reading blogs. And there are a lot of amazing novels and novelists out there, so competition is huge.
If anyone is thinking about writing a novel or is just curious, here’s a few of the struggles I’ve come across so far.
1) Characters. My characters need to feel real. They need to be believable, sustainable, but intriguing. If my story is going to work, I’m going to need the reader to fall in love with the protagonist, otherwise the whole plot won’t work. If you don’t take her side, there is no story. So how do you make the reader fall in love with your main character? I still haven’t figured that part out, so right now I’m just trying to get down on the page exactly what each character is like. Special emphasis on each person’s motives. What drives them? What do they want? What makes them interesting or easy to relate to? What will be their downfall?
2) Plots and subplots. A novel isn’t just about one specific thing. Unlike every short story I’ve ever written ever, a novel has intertwining plots. There are many things going on, and they somehow all come together to create one major climax. This is taking a lot more planning than I expected it to. You can’t just start writing and assume that it will all work out. I also realized that I need to know exactly which scenes are going to take place and when. This is way harder than it sounds.
3) Climax(es?). I’ve been reading up on how to structure a novel, and have realized that there need to be several small climaxes before the big one. This means there need to be smaller but still significant issues along the way. And they need to be somehow resolvable in a way that pushes the plot forward.
4) Voice. This shouldn’t be as big of an issue as I’m making it in my head, but I simply can’t decide what the best type of voice for this story would be. Should I be telling the story? Should it be from my main character’s point of view? Should I switch between characters to get their opinions heard?
5) Where to begin? I wrote what may serve as an introduction, letting the reader know a bit of background information on an experience from the main character’s past. And it is… terrible. Awful writing, without a doubt. At least I can see that it is bad. But knowing it is bad isn’t pointing me in the direction of how I should actually begin. And I want my novel to be something that drags you in the moment you open it up. I have all these ideas about what will happen, but I can’t even figure out how to start it off. Maybe I’ll skip ahead to a new scene, and then come back and write the first chapter later.
Ah well, perhaps I’ll take a break and come back to it in a few days when I’ve had some time to bounce ideas off of someone and figure out a better plan. It is only day two of writing, and I already have profound respect for authors. Let’s hope it gets easier!