The 4 Stages of Writing a Novel
I am currently in the stages of writing my second novel. My first novel was called 'Little Room on the Landing' and I self published it through a company called Lulu. The book I'm writing at the moment doesn't have a name yet but I am a little over quarter of the way through writing it. I have noticed that the processes (for want of a less pretentious word) that I have been going through are very similar to those experienced when writing my first novel. For me, they seem to go as follows:
Stage 1 - 0-20,000 words - The happy phase.
When you first start writing any story you almost always think that you have some sort of great idea or focus. This is why so many people (including me) start writing novels that they will never finish. The one that I am writing at the moment is actually my sixth attempt. The first few thousand words come easily to you and, if you enjoying writing, it is almost a simple pleasure. You can't foresee your project to have any real difficulties and you convince yourself the book will probably be finished in a few months at most.
"Well, I haven't ACTUALLY started writing it yet.'
Stage 2 - 20,000-40,000 words - The self deprecating phase.
This is the hardest stage to get through. All of a sudden, your creative juices slow down a little and you question the whole project. This niggling self doubt makes every word more difficult to write and you start wondering if you should just scrap it and wait for a different idea. This is where all those millions of unfinished novels come from. However, as my writing tutor used to tell me, "Just keep writing. Simple."
"I'll just stick to watching television."
Stage 3 - 40,000-60,000 words - The slog phase.
This is when the whole writing process just seems to slow down. You now believe that the novel will probably get finished but it just seems to be taking so long. Every time you click on 'word count' you can't quite believe that it has only gone up by twelve words. It's not that you're not enjoying it, because you are, it just feels a little painful. A bit like writing uni assignments except you're not hungover in the library at 7AM on the day it's due in. So, actually, nothing like that.
"Only 998 words 'til I hit my 1000 word daily target.'
Stage 4 - 60,000 - 80,000+ words - The great finale phase.
You know when you're running a long distance race and you feel like you're going to die but on the last hundred meters you suddenly feel like you could do it all over again? Well, that's what it feels like when you get to the end of writing a novel. I guess it's like that with many things in life though. You forget what all the fuss was about as soon as it's over. This final sprint to the finish is even better than the start and the happy culmination of many hours of hard work and effort. Then something happens and you think, 'I'll have to write about that.'
"I'VE FINISHED IT! I'TS OVER!...anyone?