Writing a novel is like living in a house full of ghosts — even when you ignore them, they’re still there, waiting to talk to you. They have all the time in the world. No matter how much you avoid them, the time comes when you have to confront them. Hear them out. See what they have to say. Over time, their features become clearer, their voices stronger, their histories richer, their lives fuller.
– LAILA LALAMI
We suggest that whenever anyone sits down to write he should imagine a crowd of his prospective readers (rather than a grammarian in cap and gown) looking over his shoulder. They will be asking such questions as: “What does this sentence mean?” “Why do you trouble to tell me that again?” “Why have you chosen such a ridiculous metaphor?” “Must I really read this long, limping sentence?” “Haven’t you got your ideas muddled here?” By anticipating and listing as many of these questions as possible, the writer will discover certain tests of intelligibility to which he may regularly submit his work before he sends it off to the printer.
– ROBERT GRAVES and ALAN HODGE
All the time I’m not writing I feel like a criminal…. It’s much more relaxing to actually write.
Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.
It’s coming up on 5 months since inspiration struck for my current project, Starshine. Progress slowed considerably due to the holidays, but I’m back at it. Word count is right about 30k. By comparison, it took me 4 years to reach 40k words with System Seven. This alone is an indication of how outlining can be beneficial. Additionally, the quality of the story benefits – its focus and its pace is superior to that of S7. I’ve not set a deadline for completion of first draft but I have committed to steady work on it.
I did share writing time with S7 during the month of November and a single week in December to make some edits and to update the cover art. I published those changes on Amazon and promised myself that was the final, final touch for S7 – it will forever be my first, as is.
What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.