Sunday, November 28, 2010

So You Want to Write a Novel

Did you have a vague idea of what this process was like when you first began writing seriously? My closest mental picture was from the opening of Murder She Wrote where Jessica Fletcher is typing away at her kitchen table, pulls out the last piece of paper and places it in an impossibly thin leather binder—manuscript perfect, complete and ready to go off to her publisher. All before breakfast.

Did you think you were going to be discovered? I know I did. For about a week. Then I began to learn a few things.

If you had known then what you know now, would you have ever sat yourself down to write a book? Me? Probably yes. Because knowing something and living it are two different things. And because it's just what I do. Who I am.

CR: House Rules by Jodi Picoult.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Ah, the dream of being 'discovered'. Writing is hard work, no doubt about it, but I can't imagine doing anything else. It's just something we have to do. Maybe we're just plain crazy. :)

    Hope you're enjoying House Rules. I loved that book!

  2. The first time I sat down to write a mystery/suspense novel that is exactly what I did – no outline, didn’t know any of the characters other than the two protagonists; the story would develop itself as I went merrily along, clueless about what the ending might even vaguely be. Hell yes, Jessica Fletcher could do it and so could I!

    It was just going to be fun! Not something I was going to worry about. Well, the short version is that it read as if I didn’t have an outline, a solid storyline (sadly true), or a clue about a great many things. I did encounter some very kind (kinder than I deserved in hindsight) replies from publishers and a few agents, ending in ‘Sorry we can’t use this’.

    Would I still have done it, knowing what I know today – yup!

    In fact, I started the second book not long after the first manuscript was out annoying various readers. This time, however, it is an historical mystery (with a fictionalized solution) and I am awash in research and facts (every once-in-a-while I get the point). It is far more demanding than the first – but, I love the process and the history behind this story. It’s probably better that I write it down than I ask people to listen while I talk about it for several hours at length.

  3. Hi there,

    I'm the author of the Write a Novel video, and I just wanted to thank you for posting it. Sorry to be so late to the party here, but I just came across your site. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks again for sharing it with your readers.

    David Kazzie

  4. David,my apologies for not giving you credit. As a writer, that's about as low as it's possible to go. I'm glad you found it (it's been all over the Internet, you know), and I might even repost it with some kind of bio, if you'd like.

  5. Peg,

    No apologies necessary! I'm grateful that so many people liked it enough to post it on their blogs and websites. If you'd like, feel free to post it again, but that is entirely up to you!

  6. Peg,

    Since you were a fan of the video -- Just wanted to let you know that I just published my debut novel as an eBook for Nook and Kindle. Links below: I also wrote a blog post about it as well.



    (versions for other e-readers to follow shortly on Smashwords)

    David Kazzie