There are a LOT of challenging things about writing a novel, as i'm currently working on one. I'm I'm on page 203 and am still far from done and i don't mean length-wise.
In my opinion, creating complex characters that win over an audience is.
Why don't you share your thoughts? I'd love to hear!
For me the hardest thing is staying focused. My first novel was written in 2 weeks, unedited of course. I'm on my third now. This one is a bit more technical even though it's fiction and I keep getting distracted doing research then have a hard time getting back to the writing.
Oh focus! Definitely annoying! But i don't go a day without writing or thinking of improvements to make . . . actually when i lack focus, i tend to start something else, haha!
As a result of this, i've many unfinished plots that i've started during this one work in progress!
Consistency on characters. Sometimes I tend to be inconsistent.
It's certainly tempting to make your characters do things YOU like, but then without consitency they aren't really solid characters, they aren't themselves, they're just indefinite and confusing. Essentially, keeping them true to themselves is hard!
For me, the most challenging part was just getting started. As a screenplay writer I have tons of stories in my head and my first instinct as a writer is to compile them as a movie. I start by first writing as much as I can using pen and paper. I then take that short, probably 3 or 4 pages, and make an outline. I have to do this whether I'm writing a screenplay or a novel. The outline becomes the skeleton and gives me direction on how to compose the story. It has the beginning, middle and end. After I have that outline, I have to decide whether its going to be a movie or a novel. If its going to be a novel then I have to break it down even further but I do it in stages and it becomes a step outline. I do this for each part (beginning, middle, and end) before I ever try to flesh out the story. This allows me to put elements in certain places that make up a compelling story such as plots, sub-plots, foreshadows, obstacles, and most important; characters. When I write a first draft, I don't care at all about grammar or spelling anything technical. I don't even worry about research. I write what I know or what I think I know and then the story lets me know what I need to do.
The first time I tried to write a novel, I spent 3 months of constant research before I did any of the above mentioned steps. I wasted so much time and energy that I became disillusioned, gave up on it, and joined the Army. My lesson: write first, fix it later.
Organizing is definitely the most difficult for me. After that, deciding the main plot would be second. First novel was 122,000 words finished in about 3 months. With that one, I had trouble keeping my story straight, so-to-speak, and found myself constantly re-reading my work. I've been working on my second for a year and I'm only 36,000 words in. I am now totally rewriting, switching from third to first person.
From which, possibly, you will end up switching back again... First person is so inflexible for most types of manuscripts.
I used to be in the habit of writing in first person before because I loved how open and emotive I could be but now I prefer third person. With third person, it feels (to me) like there's more left for the reader to discover and understand through body language and actions, less directly.
One can also use reflections, diary pieces, letters, and such to give a more personal touch where needed.
I love writing but its still work. I find the hardest thing to writing is to actually sit down and get started. I can always find less challenging things that agree more with my laziness. However once I sit and start writing I've been known to spend 12 hours straight just writing.
Christ! That many hours? I'd have thought one hour a day would really be enough but we all have our own patterns, don't we?
I get carried away too - once pulled an all nighter just typing, so I understand.
I am VERY sorry for such a late reply - doing the aforementioned and other things. Keep going though!
You are right, each one of us have our own pattern of writing. For me the hardest thing while writing is to put life to the characters.Mere adding the characters to the plot makes the work rough and boring. To make it interesting we have to put life to it which is the most challenging part.
When I was a kid I would constantly try to write and finish stories (they were mostly Harry Potter fanfiction at that time ) but was never been able to write them to the end. I would either be at a loss for further ideas or simply lose interest.
I am still like this today, so I am not even going to attempt to write one right now.
When I read a book I like to be able to get lost in it.. To be able to relate to the characters. I want to be able to get a mental image of the places and people in the novel. When writing I am my biggest critic and find it difficult to create the characters and places as they are in my mind. I have great Ideas just have a problem putting them into a novel..
I'm a huge critic too, Jen!
It's a bit of a pain, but what can you do!?
Once i had a dream about my characters and when i woke up, i jotted down all the details, the mannerisms and everything i could remember and somehow it was really helpful! Aside from the occasional dreams, i've been having trouble making my work captivating too!
Dreams are great for writers or artists. You get to see things coming from a place you may not have seen while awake.
Last week I woke up in the middle of the night and a phrase came into my head. It was both strange and profound and made perfect sense in a backward way. I couldn't go back to sleep because the phrase kept going in my head so I got up and wrote it down. It now has become a key in my current project, used by one of the characters to lead him to the next revelation in the plot.
Yeah, i pen down all sorts of phrases that suddenly pop into my head - i have a notebook full of them and no one can make heads or tails of them . . . just as well!
I wonder . . . are your dreams like the ones that inspired the Twilight series?! Haha!
Don't I wish!! I know, I too have pages of sayings and try to organize them every year. HaHa. But this one was so different and I couldn't get it out of my head. Maybe it only meant something to me because the muse was calling in the night!
I spent a whole day trying to organise mine . . . simply ended up with more! The mind is a prolific thing, isn't it?!
I've written down things in the middle of the night and woken up, looked at it and wondered what on earth i meant!
Having the discipline to write every single day. Writing forward too, not messing around and going back trying to tweak this or that. I do it sometimes because it's easier. Tweaking and editing and revising before the whole gross first draft is done is like trying to sight-in a rifle scope without using a target.
I know exactly what you mean! I think if i can't go forward, why not fix it up backwards?! And it's not incredibly useful . . . with the kind of person i am, i'll need at least a few dozen drafts anyway!
True that. I always write in long hand with a pen. When I get stuck, I'll go to the computer and key in the new part of the story. It keeps me focused and at the same time refreshes my memory about what I've written over the past days. Sometimes it helps to get me to the next stage.
I'm only 18 but it has been my dream since I was about 8 years old to write a book that makes the "new york best seller" list. I've tried to write a novel quite a few times, I had barely broken puberty at this time, but the problem I have always had with it was finding something to write about. Something that I could give my all to, something that would tap into the full depth of my imagination, something that both me and the readers could get lost in. That's the hardest part for me, but I think I have enough time to conquer that and reach my goal. I hope so anyway.
You will. If we could all come up with the best theme, the best seller....well you know. Sometimes the thing you think about least becomes the thing that turns into your best story. My first novel started out being a teen mystery because I thought it would be an easier way to break in. It ended up being to novels in a series and a serious crime thriller.
Also, read alot. Read what you love and even something different.
Well let's see, I've wanted to write since year 6 when i read three books a day . . . I sound like a nerd since i was ten!
Maybe you haven't felt anything worth writing about yet . . . I still read a tonne of books which always end up inspiring me!
You definitely have enough time! You're young still . . . same age as me too
I have two sisters who mock me in fun for being a nerd and I'm 61. They laugh because for me going to the library or reading the dictionary is a good time. So you will always be a nerd. Someone has to do it.
Write every day. And try outlining. You are not too young to have good stories to tell. You may be too young to have some incredibly deep philosophical wisdom that you accumulated over decades of experience yet, but you are NOT too young to have a story.
Write every day.
And if you aren't sure how to outline a novel, go check out a hub I wrote called "Three steps to finishing your first novel." It shows how to build out a story, and the 3rd section has a nifty trick for helping yourself stay disciplined that I have used to complete 4 and am using now to get through number 5 (I've got 30,000 words in under two weeks--112 pages basically. It works.).
Checking for grammatical error and run-on sentences. There are times I feel I need assistance.
Writing is the easy part for me. Everyone asks where I come up with the stuff I write about and I honestly don't know. Some of it is from my life but most of it just comes to me. I start writing and its like a movie playing in my head and I simply write it. I often go back and read my stuff and go wow I wrote that ? My only issue is putting on paper the characters and places I see in my mind... Anyone have any idea how to help with that.... Ill be posting some short pieces that I've done...soon and you all can see what I mean.
You know, i ahve books that are supposed to help with descriptive writing but then in the end, i don't think i believe in those. Writing is a person's expression and i don't think that can be taught.
Advice however is always great and if you put them up then i'll have a look if you like!
I posted one in a hub... Short Story I wrote.. I wanna do a whole book Called
" I Am Jennifer Dawn Castle" My Imagination... and I want it to be full of short stories all titled I am ...
Those are your glory days, when the story just flows. You're in the story. Is it possible that you're afraid of putting out characters you feel because they reflect people you don't want to get close to? Does that make sense? That may be off base but there's a reason you're holding your characters back.
When I wrote my first crime novel, I was actually a little embarrassed to show it to my family because of the graphic nature of the criminal. But the book was written like a cleansing vomit. It came out and I went with it without questioning where it came from. Of course, I'm a lot older than you, so I sort of know where it came from. The past can rear it's ugly head in some beautiful ways when creatives begin the dance of creation.
It does make sense... I am quite old for my age and am myself a pretty complex character. I have a problem with making the descriptive wording fit into the story without sounding like i just threw it in. like.... "Andrea's heart raced as she ran as fast as her legs would carry her. Not sure what or who she was trying to escape from she turned towards the direction of the scream, Her blue puma hit the ground hard but caught on a tree root quickly throwing her head over heels down the hill. ( this is fairly close to the beginning of a story and I want to describe what she looks like her hair and her height and such... im just never sure where or how to do it in the story)
You could practice using short sentences. It works remarkably well. Each short sentence rings true, it is solid and reads well. When you have gotten enough traction, you can start writing longer and more dynamic sentences. This way, you split the thought process from the sentence crafting process. So that you won't stumble. Try it.
You could also write out your entire character in a notebook. Keep a character notebook. Jane Doe: blonde, 120 pounds, blue eyes, tomboy, strong personality, fearless, age 22, likes to read, gets confused around males she's attracted to, works at ___, lives in a trailer, and so on. Then you add these traits where they fit.
Andrea's heart raced as she ran, her strong legs swiftly carrying her from someone - or something...
Her blue Pumas were hitting the ground hard and when she caught her foot on a gnarly oak root, all 5'2" of her tomboyish frame tumbled headlong down the hill.
When the (evil villian) found her, he stared into a mass of tangled blonde hair and questioning blue eyes.
"My whole life, I dreamed of writing one novel. I have now written my tenth! The more I do, yes, the easier it becomes. But the more it also becomes clear what a collaborative process it all truly is.
It starts with the people and resources that help you convince people that you actually know something about which you are writing on."
~Andrew Gross, in the cover of his book Don't Look Twice.
He has also co-authored 5 books with James Patterson.
I find this inspirational, sad though I am.
That's touching, i feel hopeful that it will in fact become easier if i am ever successful in publishing a first novel, which i have dreamed of for so long.
Sad though you are? I can't find this sad, i find it nice to relate to.
Thank you for that!
You're not sad, it is inspirational. Given what's happened to you over the last few months, I have to ask, why have you not concentrated on e-books? None of my business, I know so feel free to say that. I just wonder why you haven't, you would not not be at the mercy of Google anymore, but back where you once was, with the readers.
There is something about ebooks I shy away from. Don't ask me to put my finger on it. Maybe it is because I am not an expert in anything - I know a little about this, and a little about that...good enough for short internet articles, but not for a book.
I would love to write fiction. It's something I have never done, but maybe one day I will...
Not for here, though, for a book.
Thanks for thinking about me
Izzy, it doesn't have to be fiction. And I've bought a kindle, today, because my eyesight is so poor, I can't cope with a book any more. (can't bloody well read the pages, even with specs) I've downloaded some of the free books (less than 3000 words some of them) I think you need to have some confidence, here. Two or three of your shark series would definitely make a make a worthwhile read. And you could charge, you should just do it. Stop worrying, your writing is well worthy.
Thankyou!! No really, that makes me feel so good when my stuff is just lying there unread.
I would like a Kindle too, my eyesight is dreadful. I think I'll treat myself when I return to the UK.
You should and you should. Izzy do it. It wasn't your readers that abandoned you, it was Google. Do it.
I am new to this site what happened with google i have seen a few comments about google abandoning people
Basically Google Panda hit the whole site (Panda is the code-name of an algorithm) last February. In the summer, HP switched us all over to subdomains, some of which worked great, but for others, it was the death-knell.
Google just withdrew traffic from some of us. I'm one of those hit.
I am sorry to hear that.. I looked at your page it seems you have many loyal visitors.... Ty for explaining
So it essentially stole traffic?
Also, what does changing to a sub domain do?
I really know nothing of this!
No traffic was stolen. Google never guarantees traffic or search engine positions. A subdomain means that each Hubber is essentially viewed by Google as an independent website. The idea of moving each and all of the HubPages accounts into thousands of subdomains was to prevent bad HubPages accounts from damaging everyone else. Google has then decided that some subdomains (HubPages accounts) are of low quality, which has hurt those accounts in search results. Each of the affected Hubbers need to fix the issues that led to the drop in search engine rankings, and their traffic may return, or they may want to move their contents elsewhere.
I feel a little guilty for taking this thread of topic. Sorry . So back to the topic at hand, for me the most difficult thing at the moment regarding writing a novel is telling the story (narrative)and then expanding on the characters motivation for the actions they have taken. For example, I think it's quite poor story telling to use "she thought" or "he wondered" However, this obstruction, if you will, has also made me think about my skills and how much more I need to learn. Yep, that's it, I'm trying to address my skill deficit.
I disagree. Why not use all tools at your disposal? Not even a brain scan would unveil a person's thoughts, so telling it is the simplest way. It comes down to balance. It could be tiresome if used too much, but so can over-emphasis on describing minute details of movements and expressions.
A couple of weeks down the line, WE, I have to agree. When I try to avoid using this type of insight, I tend to overcompensate, and then it just sounds trashy:like I'm trying to hard, if that makes sense? Back to the drawing board for me.
My biggest problem is sticking with one story, I've written about six stories ranging from 50 000 words to 150 000 words. None of them have been completed yet, because an idea for a new story keeps popping up and I divert my attention to the new story. I guess that all comes down to one thing: finishing the first draft.
I can understand that. I have seven stories mapped out in a file while I work on one regularly. Sometimes, it depends on my mood whether I work on one or the other. The advantage, for me, on working with a few is that as I have those storylines in my head, I'm always thinking ahead in all of them. It has helped me shave off a lot of time in terms of planning!
But of course, the first draft is a challenge and a terror but definitely an aspiration!
Are you currently working on your first draft?
For me personally, when writing my limericks, I have trouble finding more than 20 or 30 words which rhyme with 'penis'.
It really slows the process down, and gives me a hard time (excuse the pun)
The unexpected ending that can keep us asking for more
Then perhaps I should be thankful that I won't come across such difficulties in my novel work!
Can you think of no synonym which is easier to rhyme with?
oh sure, but they are all naughty, and i am a classy writer
The hardest part about writing a novel is keeping it all together. The whole story should never let the readers feel that its going somewhere else. It should try and build a relation with the reader so that he/she can read it for the second time and not leave it midway!!!
I have a novel with many parts of it finished. But I can't find a good end to it that wraps up all the pieces. Most of the writing just flowed out of me. It was easy to present the problem, create the characters, give them a context in which to live and work, but in real time, they are still in a dilemma until I can figure out what to do with them.
For many people, getting started is the hardest, not me. I have plenty of ideas begun, but run out of gas down the road a piece and never get far enough to really know what my story is about as apposed to what is happening.
Too many characters could be an issue. Most people find it easiest to write a story evolving around a few strong characters. With many characters, point of view issues can become problematic. Once you have eliminated weaker characters, or consolidated them into other characters, completing the story may become more manageable.
Similarly, if you have too many plot-lines. It requires a lot of technical skill to make good use of them all. Cut off the weaker branches, then strengthen and fully explore what remains. Look for connections between different things to create a stronger, more coherent and intriguing plot.
Thinking the hardest way, when we try to write some essay our mind will get stressed and we can't write, when we are free we think a lot....! so try to to write freely minded, don't think too much just enjoy your writings.... try it it will help
Do you think that's why so many writers/aspiring writers usually have a piece of paper or something tucked away with them when they're out somewhere?
i Mean usually think what you want to think, it is like you are tries to remember the person whom you have din't met...
The hardest thing about writing a novel...is writing a novel.
Nothing is too difficult about writing a novel if you plan the plot and characters correctly. Yes, we all struggle at the beginning and tear pages and pages of paper out, cursing as we go along. But just take the time out, a day or so, to write about your characters and the plot.
If you need help following these links:
http://vrijdagpages.hubpages.com/hub/Wh … Great-Plot
http://vrijdagpages.hubpages.com/hub/Bu … g-The-Hero
I completed and published my first novel after working on the manuscript for about 2 years. I have since written others, some of which are also completed. I spent about 5 years expanding one novel after it had been completed, but not to my satisfaction. Then I sent it to a literary consultant, and after a few weeks of revisions, it was finally done. Writing a good novel is a lot of work, no doubt about that.
I have a story in my mind which I want to develop into a novel. An year has passed but I couldn't finish even a rough outline. I am confused - is it common for all writers to take so long time to complete one work?
There is nothing unusual about taking 2-3 years or more to write a novel. An outline is just a few pages of the key points, and shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks (with proper guidance). A rough draft could take anywhere from several months to a couple of years, depending on the individual. It doesn't matter how long it takes, because you need to find your writer's voice, which will decide your writing style for the future.
I've been working on the same novel for three years. Just when I thought I was done writing, I got several books on how to edit and realized I have to do a whole lot of rewriting as part of the editing phase. I suggest writers to read these books on editing before they actually start writing, that way it saves time.
Could you tell me the names of those books or Just post the links to those. I will check it out.
This one's full of sarcasm and makes you want to shoot yourself for being so dumb and making all the mistakes associated with amateurish writing... but I recommend everyone to read this because you learn how to differentiate between good authors and good sellers. Not all books that sell are written well.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00166 … 0061357952
And then there is this other book, which is excellent... http://www.amazon.com/Self-Editing-Fict … amp;sr=1-1
This one I recommend as the second reading because it does encourage you and takes you through a step by step process on what works and what doesn't. It also has a lot of exercises for you to practice writing with their recommendations.
A lot of the recommendations are mainly so that your novel doesn't get rejected at first glance when an editor takes a look at it. If it's semi-decent, they might be able to work with you. Unfortunately, a lot of publishers are not even taking the time to edit the books that are heading to print, and if you're lucky your book might end up getting published only to be ripped apart by book critics for things that are supposed to be part of the standard editing procedure.
As I read this I kept on thinking about Stephie Meyer kicking herself in the as$ for having found success with a series like Twilight, which was poorly written in spite of all the attention and sales. She said in an interview that she wished she could take it back and re-write the whole thing. After all, it's your name - your reputation. You might as well put in the time and effort to turn it into something you're proud of.
I got to say writers block is my mortal enemy, I've always fought with that.
For me, being accurate with the factual stuff - researching technical accuracies!
The story itself is fairly easy to put together as ideas develop - the hardest part is ensuing that the way things are actually done - is real and for example, the way police investigate crime scenes - the accuracy of autopsies. That's why I am currently reading as many crime novels as possible particularly Karin Slaughter's work, at the moment.
Sitting down and actually working on it. I have a really small attention span though. Creating a story that you are satisfied with is also incredibly difficult.
For me its been having the time. I just became a mom for the first time and still work part time but my motivation seems to keep me going!
Personally, I find that the hardest thing is actually doing it! Sitting down and writing, that is. It's terrifying for some reason. That's why I entered this year's nanowrimo. To see if I can force myself to do it once and for all. I really do want to do it, but I find it hard to make myself. Take hubpages for example. I made the decision to write here 2 years ago and never could do it, almost all that time. Something about having other people, strangers, look at my work makes me feel vulnerable and is really terrifying.
I've written my first book and am now on my second but I've been writing for 15 years. The hardest thing for me was finishing. My characters are living beings to me, pretty much the same for all fiction writers, I think. They have massive stories. Going through their lives and picking out the parts to put together to make up the story I wanted to tell was one of the hardest things.
I don't have a problem keeping my characters consistent or building them. They do that on their own I'm just the one telling their stories. The problem I have was narrowing everything down and fitting it into a reasonable length. Epics are great but who has time to read a book that's 1000 pages long.
It took me a while to actually get to the point where I could do a plot line and have it end up being about 4-500 pgs (I'm talking standard mass market paperback sized pages not 8.5x11). To help myself I figured the average word count of a paperback per page and the font size and did the math. Now I had my page and word count limits so for me that helped me to decide what I needed to do.
I tend to be overly descriptive and wordy, the limits helped me to be a bit more concise in my descriptions. I still get the point across but I'm not describing how many leaves are on the tree my characters happen to be resting under.
I created an entire universe, with a bunch of planets. Doing that takes time. I started building it in High school Junior year, I'm now 31 and just finished writing the first book the beginning of this month ( Oct). In the mean time I've created the basic plots for tons of other books in my universe.
Still finishing was my biggest issue so I used NANOWRIMO to help get me started. I wrote the entire plot line minus tons of details and so forth last year during the contest. I finished it. The rest of this last year has been spent expanding the scenes, flushing everything out and removing all the things that didn't work with the original plot line. I found it was great for my focus, it gave me a deadline and kept me at it until I was done. Once I had the basics finished, it wasn't hard, ( don't get me wrong writing is still work no matter what) to fill in the details.
Another thing I had trouble with was listening to feedback. Beta readers and editors exist for a reason, it took me a while to be able to listen to what they had to say and go "well you know you're probably right about that" and be willing to change whatever it was or be able to say "Thanks for the feedback but that would change this or that too much".
Dealing with the characters wasn't easy either. Mine have their own personalities and it's really hard to convince a character that while yes being born male is great, it really works better for the story if the character is female.
Luckily, it went well. The first book is off to the publishers to see if they like it. I'm writing query letters to agents in case they don't and my second book is already outlined and I've started filling in major plot points.
My plan now, to avoid all the difficulties I've had
Outline my plot completely from beginning to end
Run it by my beta readers and my editors
create my characters and flush out their personalities/traits etc
Make sure to list the parameters of the world and make sure it works with the parameters of the universe I've got everything set it.
Then sit down and write
Finally, Don't be afraid to make changes. Sometimes the changes are really really cool and come up at odd moments. Just cause I have an outline doesn't mean that it's written in stone. So far, it seems to be working.
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