The terror (or not?) of writing a new novel…

This week I started work on a new book. I have prepared plot outlines, chapter plans, character profiles and so forth, but there is nothing quite like the moment when the first word goes on the page. The beginning of a full-length novel is an incredibly intimidating time.

At least, it used to be.

Many authors speak of this moment squashing the ego and putting the fear of God into a writer, but quite honestly whilst that might have been true ten years ago, it is no longer true for me. I find the start of a well-planned novel an oddly exhilarating place. Yes, a ton of work lies ahead, but the process of writing a first draft is a wonderful experience.

For about six chapters.

Then, at some point normally mid-act two, George McFly syndrome threatens to engulf me (“What if they think I’m no good? I just can’t take that kind of rejection!”). Experience has taught me to ignore this and push on regardless, but that is the time I feel most intimidated, not on the opening page. Consequently, I try to write first drafts as quickly as possible to minimise George McFly syndrome, but it always lurks in the shadows, waiting to strike.

However, at present all is well. I am enjoying writing my new novel and my faith in it is sky high at present. Frankly, I think it helps to believe whatever you are writing is destined to be the greatest novel of all time, whilst you are writing it. And right now, this one feels like it might be.

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3 Responses to The terror (or not?) of writing a new novel…

  1. rileyjfroud says:

    Good luck with your new novel! 🙂

  2. marcusbines says:

    So, I have a question for you Simon – do you write chronologically through your novels? I’m currently working on one and I decided to randomize the order in which I write the chapters, in order to keep it fresh as I write. It may well turn out to be a stupid idea, as I’m bound to eventually get it finished and notice massive inconsistencies from one chapter to the next, but in my mind it means I won’t get horribly stuck on a chapter and stop making progress. Let me know…

    • simondillon1 says:

      I’m a strictly linear writer in 99.9 per cent of cases, though occasionally snatches of dialogue or description I definitely want are written ahead of their inclusion within a later chapter. However, that’s just me. Everyone has their own method. If working on random chapters from your outline works best for you, then great.

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