First things first – DON’T GIVE UP! Full stop. Exclamation mark. Hashtag!
If you’re reading my blog then you probably aren’t at the stage of giving up completely but I can imagine you teetering on a tightrope with your arms swinging wildly. So I say again don’t give up!
If you’ve gotten this far then your novel is almost certainly something that you have felt or still do feel incredibly passionate about. If you’ve lost that sense of excitement try to list three things that got you feeling that way in the beginning.
Here are three of mine for my novel Creeping Shadow:
1. The fantasy world I fell in love with – magic, a lethal curse, a death-defying task, forbidden love! (I still get excited about these things now!) What drives you is your passion. Find it! Name it! Put a ring on it!
2. Mystery – I am a big fan of twists and one of the things that drove me towards the end of Creeping Shadow was ‘the big reveal’. I couldn’t wait for my characters to discover that big shocker at the end! It’s a good technique. If you don’t have a twist then how about just a bit of a suprise? Have a think about your characters and storyline, is there any details you could hold back until the end? – whatever you do the end needs to be climatic afterall it’s what the rest of the story is leading towards!
3. And perhaps the biggest factor of all – my characters. I LOVE my characters. Love love love! Think about yours (particularly your protaganist) and ask yourself how you feel about them. If the answer isn’t that you want to shout their names from the rooftops, hire out a town crier to tell everyone about them or bring them to life frankenstein-style and marry them in Las Vegas (too far?) then you need to do some serious character development. Some people benefit from character profiling but I personally just take time to imagine them in different scenarios. I think about the most exciting moments in my story and play out the scenes, heightening the stakes and even imagining terrible things happening to them and their loves ones (I know, I know I’m an imaginary murderer) but try it! It should really tug at your heart strings when those characters mean something to you and it’s helped me come up with some fantastic moments I can adapt for my novels!
So if you’ve given this a go and you still feel like giving up on your novel then you’re probably in a pretty dark place by now (finger on the dial button for takeaway? Angrily stroking your cat who, let’s face it, has had enough of your pestering? Watching your go-to feel-good film and sobbing loudly thinking you could never come up with a story as good as that one?) – believe me when I say I’ve been there!
But what you need to do (and by all means take time to scoff that takeaway, try to win back your pets love and skip back to the start of that comfort film amd watch it again before doing this) is continue writing, one word at a time. If you’re stuck trying to fill a gap between one scene and the next just skip it! You can fill it in later. I’ve done this countless times and, trust me, when you go back to it at a future date you’ll find it easy to fill that space. Just focus on getting a first draft done. Focus on getting to the end. Don’t worry about how well it reads, the spelling, the fact that you mentioned a character walked into a scene then forgot about them for three hundred pages! Don’t worry! The first draft is made for fixing.
And the final resort: Write the end of your book and work backwards. (That’s right break all the damn rules!)
The middle is always the hardest. You’ve run out of gas from you’re high speed, super exciting beginning that you’ve had cartwheeling inside your mind forever and you can see the end in the distance like a tiny dot on the horizon. But this is not a race. That dot can be closer than you think. So, if all else fails, write the end and I bet you it will spark a hundred new ideas for the middle.
And one final thing to encourage you…
The moment that you finish your first draft feels like this: