A Life Of Fiction LIV

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

 

The philosophy of creating novels, part one. Or the philosophy of creating short stories, or of writing poems, the title could refer to those, as well.

Why is it that I write? Why is it that any of us feel a desire to write, and leave some sort of literary marker behind us? Ah, but that is the answer – a desire to leave some mark upon the world. Yes, this is a topic which I have covered in my writing before, but I think that it is worthwhile to return to such considerations, especially as I cannot think of anything else to say in this post number fifty-four. I am encapsulated by feelings of blankness.

Why is it that I write? To get published, of course. Except that is not going all that well. After years of trying to get published the old fashioned way and getting nothing but rejection letters I gave up on sending out thirty pages, or three chapters, or whatever it was which publishing houses demanded. For somebody with an extremely limited amount of money it had simply become too expensive, anyway, with massive increases in the cost of postage. Well, that was to sell off the Royal Mail, of course. We have come a long way from the penny post of Sir Rowland Hill. Some would say that we are no longer moving in the correct direction. Others would say that in a world of electronic mail we no longer need a physical postage system at all.

I decided, around a year and some months ago, to self-publish on the internet. I hoped that if I put everything on there – all seventy odd novels and twenty odd short story collections – and if I did not charge too much money for them (so that people were not put off from impulse purchases) then I might make just enough money to scrape by. I wasn’t greedy. I didn’t want Stephen King sorts of money. Just enough money on which to survive. If I could sell one copy of each novel each month then that would be enough for me. Considering how many Kindles are out there I did not think it impossible. Except that I have sold far fewer than that. Most of my novels have not sold a single copy, even after a year. But I’m not going to give up. If I did that then all of the effort I went to in putting stuff on Kindle would have been in vain.

Why is it that I write, if not to get published? I write because I need to write. I have a lot of health problems, which I won’t go into here, which mean that many jobs are beyond my physical, mental or societal abilities. But I can write, because I can do it at home, on my own terms, and when I choose, without some treacherous boss mithering me all the time.

Why is it that I write? To produce the sort of novels which I would like to read, but which have not yet been written (as far as I know). I like stories. I like novels. But I tend to run out of the sort of stories which I like reading. So I create my own stories. Simple.

Hm. The above sounds like I am having a moan about the fact that I have not been some soar away success. But the way that I look upon it as that I have not been a soar away success yet. I still intend to be an overnight success, no matter how many years it might take me.

If you are also a writer then you should not give up writing your novel, despite the fact that most of us prospective novelists will fall by the wayside. But if you don’t at least give yourself a chance then you have failed already.

You have to finish the novel, though. The words which you write will have no meaning if you don’t finish them. I have a lot of unfinished novels. But, at some stage, I will get around to finishing them all.

Put in the time. It is awkward if you work full time, so you have to make the time. Set yourself some target, daily, and stick to it. Even if you work you can write a thousand words in the evening, and still have time to check them for typos and bad grammar. If you stick to your schedule you could have a ninety thousand word novel in just three months. If you can’t find time for a thousand words then write five hundred a day. But keep up the writing, even if at the beginning of the novel it feels like an impossible proposition.

The hardest part, actually, will not be the beginning of the novel, as most people have an idea for a novel inside them, and can usually manage to slam down on paper a few thousand words. I reckon that the hardest point is when you are around a third to half way through writing your magnum opus, when it feels like, however much you write, you will never finish it.

But, once you are more than halfway through, it feels a lot better. You have one over half of it. The end, if not in sight, is at least in your country. And then, as you approach the end, you know that you will finish your book, as you careen towards completion and that great feeling of yes, I have done it, I have written a book!

You feel on top of the world, at least the first time. The adrenalin rush gets less the more books you do.

And, after completing one book, few authors can leave it there. You have to do book two, then three, and so on.

I will continue with these posts on creating novels in my next post.

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