Novel writing and the distance of time

Rewriting of the novel continues. My task now is to think about structure. The structure currently is haphazard. I initially had a new chapter after each day of writing. Then I tried to improve it with chapter titles spaced evenly throughout the book. Neither of these methods made sense.

Early on after draft one, I was advised by an author that each chapter needed to end at a meaningful moment. Perhaps a cliffhanger. Perhaps a small resolution. Whatever it was, it had to make sense to serve as the end the chapter. Chapter structure is one challenge I am facing, over a year from when I started writing this book.

The other challenge, and the thing that frustrates me about the current 55,000 words, is the excessive exposition! I have been constantly explaining things; often, things that do not drive the plot forward at all. I am seeing my novel now with the distance of time in a whole new light.

Other advice on structure I have received from my writing buddy, Lucy, is to plot the whole thing out. Where’s the rising action, where’s the falling action, etc. I have now done that and come up with some action on which to base the narrative. I should have done this in the beginning.

The critical point to make today is how time changes you as a writer. I have learnt so much more about writing since I started the novel that now I see it full of flaws. The writing served a specific purpose for me at the time when I was writing last year. But now we are coming to the end of another year and the distance shows me that the novel needs masses of work. I will keep going.

Would love to hear feedback on others’ experiences of temporal perspective and writing.

Back to the novel

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Today I am reexamining my novel. My last edits were in the Spring. It feels like a bit of a drag to work on it, but I heard Kate Tempest say on the radio today that a writer should write especially when it’s hard or they think they can’t face it.

There are some things that I am very proud of in the novel so I hope it does see the light of day at some point. The daunting prospect at the moment is that I have to change the career path of one of the main characters. As this is a main focus of much of the story, it’s going to be a lot of work. Also, I need to create a bit more conflict. At the moment there is not a lot driving the plot.

But sometimes I just feel like shouting in my head, ‘I’m sick of this character!’ I think this is probably a normal part of the process. And maybe as the rewriting happens she will reemerge as a new entity that I am not sick of.

I am facing inertia and frustration with the novel, but I will press on.  It’s a Sunday afternoon at home. I need to be writing. Words of encouragement welcome!