Diary of a Newbie Novelist

December 12, 2011

This post was written by JaneIsaac

Diary of a Newbie Novelist  11 comments

As work on my second novel progresses, I realise that word counts intimidate me. When I hear other writers aiming for 2 or 3,000 words a day on their book, every day, I want to climb back into bed and eat copious bars of chocolate. I admire their tenacity, their discipline, their focus.

Like of many of you, my lifestyle allows precious little spare time. As you all know, I have a day job, a family and a very naughty Labrador – all barriers (albeit welcome barriers – most of the time!) that keep me from my keyboard.

These days, I approach my novel in scenes, writing one at a time. I like to get into the heads of my characters. They don’t share my personality, so I need to feel theirs. I guess you might call me a ponderer. I walk across the fields with Bollo, my dog, and let the fresh air swim around me whilst mulling it over in my head.  I try to imagine the scene, picture it in my mind – how does it look, smell; what noises can I hear in the background? Then survey my characters, what is happening to them, how will they react?

Often I come back and write something. Sometimes, there isn’t time. If I’ve got work or family stuff to attend to, I just jot down a few notes. But I genuinely think that if I can’t feel my story, then my readers won’t either. And for me, this all takes time: sometimes hours, days, weeks even for a complex scene.

If you’re writing for something special, or doing a competition like Nano, then great – it’s a challenge. If it’s your job and you have a deadline, you have no choice. But, for me, it’s a hobby and a regular writing routine isn’t measured by a daily word limit. I count all the research, thinking and ruminating time too.

We all know that what works for one, doesn’t for another. As Newbies, we have to find the right habit to suit our own lifestyles. Writing should be an exciting, thrilling and fun experience. Like a great movie, or a good book. So, go find what suits you – write and enjoy.

Jane Isaac’s first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, will be released by Rainstorm Press in February 2012. Jane is still very much a Newbie and with a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. Join her on the rocky road from pen to publication!

11 comments to Diary of a Newbie Novelist

  • Katharina Gerlach  says:

    aim for a low but regular wordcount. You can easily write a full novel in a year of you consistenly write 250-500 words a day. Another method that works well is the 10-min timer. Set an alarm for 10 minutes and write like mad. You usually end up with a lot more words than you expected. When I first set out, my wordcount was miserably low and very irregular. It’s since gone up to 1,5K a day. If I keep writing more, it might go higher still.

  • Jane Isaac  says:

    Thank you Katharina. Great advice for all us newbies! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Tammy Maas  says:

    You & I have a lot in common Jane. I can’t wait to read your book!

  • Jane Isaac  says:

    Hey Tammy! Thanks so much for your comment. Nice to know I’m not the only one:)

  • Colin Myles  says:

    (And for me, this all takes time: sometimes hours, days, weeks even for a complex scene) Sometimes it takes me forever to write a chapter, then reading over it later I decice to change the whole thing.

  • Jane Isaac  says:

    You are not alone there, Colin. I think they call it writers angst. Can be very frustrating. Thanks for sharing:)

  • Gina  says:

    Hi Jane your comments rang true with me. If I could just lock myself away in a padded cell for a month, I reckon I could finish my second novel in no time flat LOL. I’ll keep an eye out for your novel An Unfamiliar Murder. Good luck!

  • Jane Isaac  says:

    Ty Gina. Thanks very much. Hmmm – a padded cell. Not such a bad idea. Might have to look into that one……

  • Damien  says:

    Hey this has to be our most commented on post! Way to go Jane

  • Angelena Hindocha  says:

    Can’t believe your book is out this Feb, congratulations I will defo be buying it. I have finally finished writing my first ever young children’s picture book, minus the illustrations that is. Very excited about it all but a little overwhelmed by how publishing works and could do with some down the earth advice! Can I ask, should I be paying to get it published of I am not self publishing?

  • JaneIsaac  says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Angelena, and congratulations on your book. A great achievement.
    If you are going down the traditional publishing route you wouldn’t normally be expected to contribute. Your publisher invests in your work with cover art, edits, formatting, print run etc. and then takes a cut of net sales. This normally involves signing rights to them for a set period.
    For self publishing, you cover all costs yourself, but retain rights and any profit is your own.
    Are you on Twitter? If so, find me at @JaneIsaacAuthor. Happy to discuss further and best of luck with your work.

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