A novel doesn’t write itself

A novel doesn’t write itself, I said to my mother the other day. Of course not, you say. But there’s more to this sentiment than the obvious. A novel needs its author to sit down almost every day and put words on the page, fingers to keyboard or whatever. And there are times when this is the last thing you want to do.

I write with an outline – I’m a planner not a seat-of-the-pantser. Each chapter has brief notes about the action that takes place, whose voice is in charge, the setting and, if necessary, a date or time. These days each chapter also has a note about the key plot point. In other words, I know where I’m going with the story and the major steps to get there.

And yet – inertia sets in. The brain doesn’t want to engage. The fingers are reluctant. My butt doesn’t want to sit in that ergonomically designed chair. For me, it’s almost a physical feeling.

When does this happen?

  • when I’ve just finished what I consider a great scene
  • when a scene isn’t working
  • when a character doesn’t want to cooperate – yes, they do that sometimes
  • when the writing feels like crap
  • when I think I’m making progress only to realize I’m less than half done

So you see, inertia can happen anytime. What’s the cure? Sorry folks, there’s no easy cure, no pill you can take, no mantra you can chant. You just have to get that butt back into the seat and keep going.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.