Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The 38,000 Breakdown

38,000 words into my fantasy novel, I found myself saying, "This sounds stupid. My characters are starting to annoy the heck out of me."

I then proceeded to laugh at myself.

Writing a novel has been an interesting process. In addition to learning more technical things, like writing quickly without editing and avoiding repeat verbs and adjectives, I've learned life lessons about putting one foot in front of the other, taking breaks rather than beating my head against a wall, and recognizing where I'm headed instead of plowing forward in blind enthusiasm. Oh, yeah -- and about taking constructive criticism.

I just started developing the romantic relationship between two unassuming lead characters. I was so excited to jump in and make the sparks fly after slogging through one hundred pages of near-fatal blunders and somewhat melancholy revelations. Once I started to create the romance, though, I found myself concentrating too much on the pair involved and losing sight of the grand narrative.

The narrative is a great and terrible adventure. That's what I want to concentrate on. The romance is, after all, a subplot, not the story itself. And as much as I adored my lead character Calum when I first started working with him, he doesn't do well on his own, without the momentum of the entire story to carry him.

So, I continue to learn from the roller-coaster process of novel writing: sometimes, it takes stepping back from the details to remind oneself of the big picture, and to get a proper perspective on life. We are valuable, and our every moment here is valuable, but if we let our selves or our circumstances cause us to forget that God is in control and His grand plot cannot be thwarted, we will fumble through writing our own story.

And I'm just not as good a writer as God is.


  1. Amen! Metanarrative for the win! Nice post :-)


  2. Thanks, Tyler! Yep, the metanarrative is where it's at. In the end, it's why I do what I do (without even knowing it at times), and THAT is just an awesome thought!


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