Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When You Hate Your Novel

By Debbie Maxwell Allen

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When you've discovered a brand-new, shiny idea for a novel, you never think it will come to this: the point where you're ready to pitch the thing out the window. Or press the delete button.

New love is a powerful thing. We fall in love with our characters, our story world, our plot. Life is full of rainbows and fairy dust. But a few months (or years) later, we become convinced it's stale, trite, overdone. 

And after a grueling month of NaNoWriMo, you're exhausted on top of that.

The best medicine for this kind of despondency is to realize it will probably happen to you. Expect it. Prepare for it. And get past it. By making yourself keep writing, no matter how bad it sounds even as you type.

The other cure is to realize it happens to others. Not just other writers, but other published writers. Bestselling writers. If they go through it, then it must be part of the journey, right? And multi-published author and former agent, Nathan Bransford says that means you're almost done. His brief post on revision fatigue could be the shot in the arm you need to keep going.

Another tactic is to jump into revisions. Plot expert Martha Alderson conducts PlotWrimo every December, helping writers to revision their manuscripts. Check out her videos on the topic.

I've felt this way multiple times, but the most recent was after the summer, when I hadn't been writing as much. Without my head in the story, it was easy to listen to the negative comments in my head, and consider just starting something new.

But I did two things. I focused on mapping out the plot to see where I might be missing things, and I began reading scenes. I began to remember what it was I loved about this story, and get excited about fine-tuning the novel. And it made me want to fight to finish. 

When did you hate your novel? Or question your ability as a writer? And what pulled you out of the muck?

About the Author: Debbie Maxwell Allen works as a project manager for Good Catch Publishing and writes young adult historical fantasy in the Rocky Mountains. In her spare time she teaches writers about the wonders of Scrivener software. Her fiction has been a finalist in the Pikes Peak Writers Zebulon Contest four times. She blogs about free resources for writers at Writing While the Rice Boils.

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