The Birth of the Novel
I once spoke with a very wise woman (my wife) about writing a novel. She compared the process to pregnancy. While (un)fortunately I’ve never been able to experience childbirth firsthand, I’ve been a part of the journey several times. From my dangerously male point of view, I will now share with you all of the joys and tribulations of the novel-birthing process.
(Note: time may vary – your novel may have the gestation of a guppy or that of an elephant).
The First Trimester
It seemed like a good idea at the time, right? You decided that you have what it takes to write a novel. Look where that’s got you. It started off great. You told your friends and family, “Look! I’m writing a book!” Maybe you began with an idea of what your child (novel) should look like, with an outline chasing a three act structure. But then the aches and pains begin. It’s suddenly scary. Your great idea sometimes makes you sick, and you wonder how you’re ever going to survive the process. Perhaps you wonder if your idea was even worth conceiving. It just felt so right when you started. Hang in there. Your muse won’t let you down.
The Second Trimester
Sometimes it feels like your novel is never going to be realized. Will it be fully developed? You want your novel to be perfect, but what are the chances of that? When you look back at what you’ve created, you want to pick at the flaws. This stage may end when your first draft is complete, but your novel still needs time to develop. All of its internal organs are there, all the things that make up a novel. But it’s not the wonderful, precious gift to the world that you imagined yet. You’re excited to show the world your baby, but there are risks to releasing your book prematurely.
The Third Trimester
Rewrites and editing... Sometimes it feels like you’re done, but your support group comes back with another list of things needing fixed. You’re spending your time fixing up the baby room by showing the world your beautiful book cover, and preparing your author platform for your novel’s arrival. Yet even as the time draws near, you are filled with uncertainty. Will the world like your book? Will it fit in with its peers? Will it have your voice?
After all of your hard work, your book will hit the ground like a baby giraffe and have to run on its own, right out of your creative womb. It will make friends and enemies, and go places you’ve only dreamed of. If you’ve given your book the proper nurturing, it will have a better chance than many of its peers. Don’t be ashamed of it. You are no longer just a writer. Hold your book high (like a monkey holding up a lion cub for the entire savannah to see) and call yourself an author.
It wasn’t that bad, was it? There’s already a sparkle in your eye and you’re ready to try again.
G.S. Wright lives in Southern Idaho, with his wife, Aimee, and their three boys. He writes Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. His books are BROKEN THINGS and DEATH STORM.
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