Oh dear, what a disaster. You’re writing a novel, and you hate it. You can’t finish it — you can’t even force yourself to read it with pleasure. What made you think that you could write a novel?
You’re disappointed, and ashamed.
STOP! I know what comes next… you’re tempted to delete that pile of dreck from your hard drive, aren’t you? Please, don’t.
Writing a novel: it’s not a bad novel just because you feel uncomfortable
Please be aware that every novelist hates his novel sometimes while he’s writing. Chances are the novel’s fine. Occasionally, the novel is more than fine.
One of the authors in our writing group told us a story about a novel she almost trashed three years ago. Someone talked her down, and the novel was published. To date, it’s her most popular and best selling novel.
She said: “a writer whom I respect told me to keep writing, no matter what. She said that this was about me, not about the book, and that the book would be fine… It was. Suddenly, my inspiration came back.”
If you feel blocked, so that you can’t write, try creating a book journal, as this post suggests, Writer’s Block? 3 Writing Tips To Reanimate A Dead Novel:
Sometimes we block because we’re confused. You never wrote a thumbnail description of your novel, and you can’t remember your original inspiration.
Memo for the future: create a book journal for EVERY novel you write… and write in it.
More on book journals in a moment. Let’s look at the tips.
1. You’ve hit “the wall” — white ant it, or blow it up, but keep writing
If you hate your novel, chances are that you’ve hit “the wall.” Some authors hit a point in every novel where they hate every word. They hate their characters. They’re convinced that their plot is rubbish.
When you hit the wall, you’ll know it. It’s a deep, visceral dislike for your book. As we’ve said, it’s not a bad novel just because you hate it at this moment in time.
Keep writing, even if it takes you an hour to produce a paragraph. Read through what you’ve written, and write.
Avoid the thought that: “I just need to wait for inspiration”. Trust me, when you hit the wall, inspiration won’t come. You’ve got to go through it, so be brave. Grit your teeth if you must, but write anyway.
2. Focus on your characters: write character journals
Create a character journal for your Point of View (POV) character. Let your character tell you what he/ she is feeling. Is your character trying to keep a secret? What’s the character’s most humiliating moment?
When you write as your character, you’ll start to feel compassion.
Sooner or later, if you keep writing, and creating character journals, your passion for the book will reignite.
3. Your own journal helps: ask yourself questions
Have you created a book journal for your novel? Try creating a bullet journal for the novel.
Ask yourself questions in your bullet journal. Make a list.
Questions could include:
- What season of the year is it? How does the weather affect my primary character’s actions and emotions?
- Have I created an effective antagonist (the character who opposes your main character)? Your main character needs powerful opposition. List ways you could make your antagonist more effective.
- What does my main character learn in this novel? Why is that important? How can I show that?
Once you start listing questions, answer them as well as you can. You’ll find that after an hour of asking and answering questions in your journal, you won’t dislike your novel as much as you did. You may even think that there’s hope for the novel (and for you) after all.
You’ll cycle through emotions while writing a novel
When you’re writing a novel, your aim is to inspire emotions in your readers. You have to feel those emotions…. and this can be very uncomfortable.
Expect to feel intense emotions while you’re writing. That hatred you feel for your novel might simply mean that you’ve tapped into a strong emotion you’ve buried. You’re projecting it onto your novel.
Emotions come and go. Keep writing. Before you know it, you’ll fall in love with your book again.