Posts Tagged ‘How not to write a novel’

Writing…A blog about writing and I haven’t mentioned it yet!

I probably should.

The Elements series…1100 pages long, just under half a million words…and 9 years of writing. It looks quite a lot, especially when the 5 books are piled up on top of one another. But when I started writing the first book, all that time ago, it didn’t seem like a big challenge at all!

I was at last doing something that felt totally right, and knew without the slightest of doubts, that this was all I wanted to do…And it wasn’t going to be ‘one day, I’ll write a book’, it was ‘I am writing a book now.’

So…Why then? It wasn’t as though I hadn’t written bits and pieces before. What was different about that moment in 2003?

A dream. That was what was different. I woke up one morning with the entire story in my head…beginning to end. And unlike most dreams, this one didn’t fade away as the minutes passed. Infact, the opposite happened and that morning, as I scribbled down the bones of the story in a notebook, I remembered more and more detail.

And that was that. Whether I wanted to or not now, I had no choice really but to write the story… I had been given the story as a gift from the Story Spirits and to ignore it, to not write it, would be to throw that gift back in their faces!

Probably the sensible thing at this stage would have been to read lots of books about how to write books, or even to do a short creative writing course. It certainly wouldn’t be to give up the ‘day job’ and launch straight into a 5 book series. But I’m not a huge fan of the ‘sensible thing’. And I have a sneaking suspicion that had I been sensible and rational about it, the books would never have been written.

I can hear tut-tutting!…

That’s the why. Now the how.

It was obvious from the beginning that this was going to a series, something which has turned out to be a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because no matter how demoralised I sometimes felt, I had to carry on. What would have become of the first 3 books if I had stopped there and left them dangling, left my hero tumbling into a dark hole?
A curse, because no matter how demoralised I sometimes felt, I had to carry on! I could have taken a break, written something else, but hanging over me was the constant spectre of an unfinished series…otherwise known as ‘what if I fall under a bus?’-syndrome.

So…a series, and a series with many different plot threads running through it. I put on an organised head and began to draw up a sort of massive grid system; characters, plot lines, themes, etc. running through all 5 books. And I wrote the end. Not in great detail, but the key points were there. I knew where the story was going to end.
The very last line of the last book reads « This is the end in which the beginning rests ». And so it is. Without the end there would have been no beginning.

Coming up…I start to actually write…Dragons will be involved…

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