ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Insecure Writers Support Group - Finish that novel!

Hello there!

It's great to be back to 'normal' posting now that my NaNo novel is finished. I have participated in NaNoWriMo for several years in a row, but this is the first time I feel really happy with the first 50,000 words of my novel. Perhaps that's something to do with the fact that it's been simmering around in my head during my 6-week hiatus in Fiji in July/August this year. As I cruised the Fiji Islands at leisure and chatted to the locals, I was always on the lookout for locations/characters for the story I knew I'd write back in Oz.

Two kava ceremonies turn up in my novel. Hard to do if I hadn't participated in a few!

Funny, I was reading yet another 'how to' book before NaNo, and it said it would be difficult to write about some places, such as Fiji, without visiting. I know what the author meant. There are so many customs, ways of thinking, histories and characters that would be difficult to find on google.

So many quirky characters, so many ceremonial dresses,
so many things to experience - and write about.

Which brings me to the point of my post today - Finish the novel.

Margaret Attwood said it, others have said it - if you don't finish your story, why are you worried about whether it'll get published or not? Similarly, if you don't ever finish anything you start, what is the point of twittering away on social media (if you have opened accounts expressly to promote yourself) if you never have anything to promote? Luckily, I just twitter away promoting other authors and places.

So insecure writers (isn't that everyone?), get that novel finished - first draft, edits, re-writes, whatever it takes, but eventually call it finished and ready to launch into the world. Hopefully, you won't have as many unfinished novels as I have, but how about we work towards at least getting one completely finished? That aside, I consider my unfinished novels the best hands-on writing course I ever did!


  • Tell me about your writing journey and aspirations. Have you finished your novel yet? Are you published?






44 comments:

  1. Congratulation, Denise, and wow, Fiji, how cool (and ambitious)!!!

    This was my second year participating in Nano, but the first time I won! I've been feeling a little lost after it ended, though. I haven't written a single word since, but I know I have to finish the project. I was very happy with it as I was writing. Do you find yourself having this problem after Nano is over? Like the motivation is sort of over too?

    Lorena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean Lorena. NaNo gets a lot of flack about being a ridiculous idea to write a novel in a month - but I see it as a fantastic excuse/motivational tool to write. Yes, every other time at the end of NaNo it's hard to pick up that story again, but this time I'm determined to finish/publish. I took the weekend off and have continued to edit/rewrite each day. Here I am in the library again, working, straight after my writing group's break up party. I'm all fired up and shall continue. (There is an edit NaNo in Dec.) But keep writing Lorena! D

      Delete
  2. Great advice here Denise!! I personally have no problem finishing novels. I have more of a problem getting them to a publishable state ;) Even with self-publishing! I am a great big perfectionist, but it's not even as if I have 5th versions of stories that are almost but not quite ready. Most of my finished works are still in rough draft form. ;) I really do intend to fix this in the near future!

    I keep having ideas for new stories though. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you with the ideas, Trisha. They are bubbling all the time, hard to know which one to capture. That's why I have so many unfinished/unpolished novels and heaps of short stories. Ah, but now I'm going to concentrate on one at a time and get them finished/published - trying traditional publishing first as I believe self publishing is a truck load of work. :D

      Delete
  3. I too felt a little lost after the 50,000 push was finished. I stopped working on the third book in the trilogy to write a new novel for NANO and now I have to drop it and finish book three -- unless I can find another excuse for not...

    Hopeless I tell you -- I'm hopeless! :) Great post and yes just what I need a good kick in the pants!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've tried for 6 months to focus on one project to completion - like you, I have too many on the go. However, I'm going to work through Fijian Princess to the end. At least I'll have one finished! D

      Delete
  4. Denise, that's great you feel good about where you are at with your work. Magic happens when you feel that way - trust me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alex. Oh to be so focused. But I think I am this time! i'm seeing it through to the end, whatever that is...D

      Delete
  5. Aaah, I'm thinking kava may have had a lot to do with your inspiration in Fiji ;)

    But seriously, I totally agree that visiting a place is soooo much better for book research than just googling about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well kava tastes like dishwater and my hero thinks so too, hee hee. I adore visiting places and learning new things. D

      Delete
  6. "if you don't ever finish anything you start, what is the point of twittering away on social media (if you have opened accounts expressly to promote yourself) if you never have anything to promote?"

    This is where I'm at right now with my writing. A month off just isn't enough, but boy do I miss being here. Balance is the key, of course.

    So cool that you've been able to visit so many of your settings. I agree there is only so much culture you can devine from a google search. You seem to have all the tools you need to write in your prefered genre. I think you'll go far with this one cuz you have invested so much of your passion and experience into the story. Sometimes its just a matter of finding the right concept, characters, and emotional investment to make a novel come to life and make its way into the publishing world.

    Keep on doing what feels natural.

    ........dhole

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No a month off isn't enough but then you miss the blogging world so much. It's an important part of my writing life. But I'm not suffering the usual post-NaNo blues of not writing a word - I'm hard at it still...D

      Delete
  7. If you don't finish what you start, then according to Hemingway, you are merely a dreamer. Writers write. Dreamers fizzle when the going gets hard. And mid-way is where most writers start to hit a barrier.

    Yes, if social media is something you got into to market your book, then you must finish to have product to promote.

    As always, a fascinating post, Roland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah I'm a dreamer and a writer. Dear old Hem. I was re-reading his A Moveable Feast last night. It took him 3 years to write it and it looks deceptively simple, but he worried about every sentence. So do I, which is why it takes me so long...D

      Delete
  8. A lot of the time it can behard to write about places you've not been to, simply because it's hard to imagine them thoroughly, so you don't have an image in your head to pass on to the reader.

    It's not a hard and fast rule, but as a reader, I think you can tell when the writer has a full understanding of where they're writing about. There's a sort of richness that makes it feel more real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by. I agree. It is much easier to sound real when you have had the experience.

      Delete
  9. I'm good at finishing first drafts, but that's where I slack off. Of course having a great writing buddy this year has made me much more productive!

    You've nothing to be insecure about, you've worked really hard lately and I know you'll get that Fijian Princess novel published!

    PS: Today was awesome, and you're the best Secret Santa ever!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lay off that grog friend, lol! Thanks for the vote of confidence. Having you as an awesome writing buddy has made me work harder and stop naffing around...maybe you think it should be the opposite!
    I worked on story improvements till 6!
    And if you don't love Anita's book i'll be surprised and will give you lollies next year...lol!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Replies
    1. Sure is. I'm yet to accomplish that with more than short stories.

      Delete
  12. Yes, I've written a novel or two and I'm published but I think your advice applies to me still. I have to keep finishing the novels. I'm glad you enjoyed your time in Fiji.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Clarissa. Yes, even though you're published, you have to keep at it!

      Delete
  13. Such wise advice! I have so many novels I've started yet so few (ahem...one) that I've actually finished! Thank you for this post :D

    Oh, and congrats on finishing NaNo! I fizzled out this year but there's always next year!

    Cheers,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen. I'm sure both of us will get a novel finished one day. What a celebration that will be!

      Delete
  14. Hi Denise
    I'm proud of you. I had a few personal set backs in my writing. A tooth infection and teaching the GIMP art system to my talented daughter who is less interested by the day. I guess it's time to get out my own art supplies.

    It has taken me awhile to figure out what Mirabella and Vaden to have challenge them but I finally have a few ideas. Thanks for your input. I'll be getting in touch just as soon as I get rid of this tooth ache.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad Mirabella and Vaden are moving along there. You'll have a super story when you finish. Hope that tooth ache has gone...:D

      Delete
  15. Hi Denise .. looking forward to reading the novel and learning about those characters and customs - would love to visit Fiji someday and meet Naz too ..

    Congratulations on achieving Nano - and moving on .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hilary. Lovely to see you!

      Delete
    2. Hi Hilary!

      You're welcome to come any time!

      Delete
  16. Congrats! Denise on your Nano milestone! And I'm still working on my book Escalation but things are flowing right now. I've hit that rhythm and am rocking and rolling right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen, I'm pleased you're in the groove again. I'm working my way through your novel.

      Delete
  17. It's not a terrible thing to have not-quite-finished novels - I have lots of work to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Tonja, I have 3 unfinished, well, 4 including my latest. Will be nice to have one completed!

      Delete
  18. Yay for your nano win!! :)
    I do think it's sooooo important to finish those novels, even if they're not going to publishable. How can we learn to write endings well without practice???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Jemi, this time I actually wrote the ending first, now I have to make the story fit. At least I know what it's like to write an ending now, lol!

      Delete
  19. Hi Denise,

    Thanks for checking on me. Glad to hear you've finished your first draft. Hope you'll post excerpts. Your post definitely speaks to me. During NaNo month I had bursts of activity on some days. On other days, I got distracted. The month went very quickly! I did get the first draft in. Felt the third person POV would not work. So I'm writing the second draft in first person - which really is like starting all over again. But the good thing is I'm more excited about it. Can't wait to get to the end of the second draft and plug some plot holes too.

    It's enjoyable but also hard work and I do wonder if I'll ever get to the end. I'm easily distracted. I keep editing as I write which kind of holds me back, I think.

    I've posted a revised excerpt (a previous RFW Birthday Madness entry). Please check it out when you can. I'll appreciate your opinion.

    Happy 'hot' Christmas in advance, Denise. *Said with obvious envy*. It's freezing here in the UK!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adura, lovely to hear from you. I'll check out your excerpt when I can. Sounds like your'e working well on your story. Sure isn't easy, I agree.

      Yes, we are sweltering here, but we adjust our Christmas menu to a big brekkie of delicious things, then prawns and salads at night. It works at the beach!

      Happy Christmas in the freezing UK!

      Delete
  20. Matey, you're terrific. Thank you for so much. Early this a.m., Rings is at 24,486, out of the hundreds of thousands on Amazon. There's a slim chance Rings can crack that ceiling over out-of-popular genre arena books. I'm sooooo excited!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So excited for you Kittie! Can't wait to read it!

      Delete
  21. Hi Denise,

    You know what happened to my writing. Just got too busy with other aspects of the writing business! But at the moment, I'm happy where I am!

    All the best with your Fijian Princess!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you found your niche, Nas. Thanks.

      Delete
  22. I feel so good when I can write, "The End," and really mean it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still waiting...but am nearly there...

      Delete
  23. Thanks for the "nudge" Denise.

    Yes, WE MUST FINISH THAT NOVEL! I always think I am finished, then realize it's not...

    I hope to JUMP back in and work on it this weekend. I need to. I keep saying it, but here I am blogging away. I need my blogger friends right now. It's a deep connection and you all inspire me to press on.

    Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you! Hit me with your wisdom!