I’m writing a novel at the moment, a story idea I’ve been mulling over for ages. While it isn’t my best or even favorite idea, it’s very different from my previous completed novel. I think at this point in my writing career (if a career it even is), I need try out a wide variety of styles and story ideas and viewpoints.
I’m sure I’ll talk a lot more about these novels (or novellas depending on your definition) in the future.
To the point of this post: I’m about three quarters of the way through novel number two. While I know exactly where I need to take things, I seem to be having trouble pushing through to the end. I keep finding distractions (like this blog, you see), and when I do write, I can’t seem to find inspiration. My first novel had a non-linear structure, so I didn’t have to fill in the gaps. Now I’m having to ramp up the energy and get myself into the explosive and twist-filled final act, but my characters are pottering about, killing time, discussing stuff instead of actually getting on with it.
Then today I remembered part of a pep talk by Niel Gaiman, and looked it up. Sure enough:
The last novel I wrote … when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”
I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”
“You don’t remember?”
“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”
I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.
This makes me feel better about the entire project. A bit. It doesn’t change the fact I’ve only written 23 words today.