Saturday, December 5, 2009

Are you Insecure? Writing a Novel

Me too! Me too!

I'd stretching the last few years and I'm trying to write a novel. I'm much more comfortable writing poetry. And if you'll excuse the conceit, I'm a decent poet. Not startling great but decent.

Novel writing is not natural for me but it something I really want to do, at least once. After a few slow starts, I found a story that seems to appeal to readers and appeals to me. But I'm so insecure about novel writing, I hamper myself.

My workshop reviews tie me up in knots for hours. I start to wonder if I'm kidding myself. Maybe I'm not meant to write a book. Maybe the story is idiotic. It's not a traditional book. I'm not a traditional girl. But maybe I went to far down the wrong path?

I get overwhelmed. I don't know what do half the time.

Part is my concept. The book I'm writing is an grown-up adventure story. Each chapter starts with a hook and ends with a hook, much like a child's adventure book.
The larger plot is very loose, the adventure is more important than the destination. Once again, this is not how most books work.

Plus it's first person and the narrator is unreliable. The reader can't always trust her perceptions. It's like being on a roller coaster run by an eight year old hyped on sugar.

My whole concept hinges on voice. The voice of the narrator has to carry it all. But people want explanations. They want everything to be boxed off and clear and concise. But I don't think this book will ever be completely normal. But does that mean it won't be satisfying?

I really don't know.

I have tense problems. That I can fix.

The mis-spellings I can fix.

But when you're doing something new, how can you trust someone on plot? I may be wrong. What I'm doing may not work in the long run. I may never find a publisher.

But I want to finish.


I'm so afraid of failing. Of being a disappointment to my readers, I find myself not writing. Which is worse?

What do I do?

When you don't know how to dance and people give you conflicting instructions? Who do yo listen to? Or do you set down on the dance floor and just cry?

I know the book has moments when it works. I'm not lying to myself there but is that enough? If you can't give the reader the whole meal, should you even bother with the appetizer.

I don't want to fail.

But I feel like such a loser. I keep losing the voice. The character keeps going silent on me.

I feel like I'm writing underwater and all the lines are blurred.

Did I use enough metaphors here? Hah.

I'm not one of those novel writers who lives for my novel. It's not my life's blood, poetry is that for me. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe that's it. Maybe I don't love it enough.

Maybe you need to be in love with your novel.

I don't know.

I'm making myself finish this. I will write this novel.

If only to tell myself that I can write one.

But it shouldn't be this hard.

It shouldn't.

Maybe I am a failure.

I don't know.

Tomorrow is another day and another chapter.



  1. Oh yeah. I'm insecure.

    What if you wait to post it until you finish a rough draft?

    You can't go on listening to conflicting opinions. That's exactly what locked me up.

  2. Hi Tirz, I think most writers are insecure. It's probably why we write. But, finish that book. I attempted several books and could never finish them. But I kept trying. The first book I finished was staggeringly bad. So were the next two or three, but each book got a little better. The important thing is to keep writing, when you do that, you'll just keep getting better. Glad I found your new blog. I noticed your tweet. Doralynn

  3. I torture myself. On one hand, I want feedback but at the same time it drives me in's so me Corra.

    And Dorra--it gives me hope anyway that it might come together anyway. I'm just neglecting my poetry to write a novel that may not go anywhere. Sigh. I'll finish anyway.



  4. Tirz,

    I know this sounds simple, but 'enjoy the journey'. It's your story, therefore you have the liberty to take it where you it to go. When I write, I never think about what my readers will think, I write instinctively, thinking about what I like to read. Selfish attitude, but it works for me.

    Go with the reviewers you trust, listening to everybody will have you tied up in knots, kinda like you are now.

    Again, this is your story. Enjoy the journey.

  5. True. But how to know who to trust. There's the problem.

  6. Okay, you want a writer with a bit of experience under their belt. Someone who will give you advice that will ring sensible and true. Stuff that resonates with you. Makes you see the light, kinda. It helps if you've read some of these writing books, so you know instinctively when you're getting good advice.