Monday, June 27, 2011

Emotional Stages of Writing a Novel

This video cracks me up! It is so true to form, I almost thought someone had intruded a dream of mine. Sometimes I have a few of these emotions going on at the same time be it overlapping stages or simultaneous projects.

One: The Idea
Two: Euphoria
Three: Reality
Four: Triumph
Five: Editing

The Editing stage on my first novel, The Shadow Catcher's Daughter, was quite an experience for me and included whittling it down by 5,000 words. But I did it thanks to the help of my fantastic critique partners and series collaborators Darlene Franklin and Susan Page Davis.  I've now received my content edits from my publisher (Heartsong Presents/Barbour Publishing) and have more to consider. I'm so grateful for the the critiques the first time around as they certainly had an influence on what I now have on my desk. This isn't my favorite part of the process for certain, but having another set of eyes helping me groom this work is necessary to make it shine.

I'm also in the Reality stage of other projects that I'm working on writing proposals for. This is the tricky part. I've already established my ideas, done extensive research, and written several chapters. But then comes the hard part for this mostly seat of the pants write a synopsis of the full novel.  And how do we do that if I haven't written the story yet my brain protests! So I have to take my beginning, and pull those thoughts of future chapters into some assemblance of order and begin to summarize them. It is like sizing up a huge mountain to see how I will scale it. Of course, the Reality stage also encompasses the actual hard work of writing the chapters and usually sets in about chapter 5 for me, but this planning stage is part of the strategy of getting it done. Referring to my synopsis keeps me on track so I'm glad that I've done it, and have found that it doesn't restrict my creativity, rather grounds it. 

The Idea. Always ideas. I am forever tucking them away, jotting them down so I don't lose them, and saving for when I have time to develop them.  And lately, I've had opportunities to submit based on an already developed concepts. One sample chapter for consideration based on 12 page guidelines, and two premises for novella proposals.

Euphoria and Triumph are akin to one another, but Triumph so much more satisfying. Although, as Euphoria urges me forward to give those ideas wings, once its all done I revisit Euphoria again with a grand celebration!

Rinse. Repeat.

What's your favorite stage of the novel writing process (or apply it to other writing projects)? You least favorite stage? What stage are you on now?


  1. I dont think this is really an emotion, but momentum is a wonderful feeling! And strangely, the mixed emotions when you finish is kind of a kick - you know relief, sadness, joy! :)

  2. Oh, Carla, I laughed and laughed! He captured the emotions and the progression.

    I'm in the finished, and I don't want to look at this book for awhile stage with one manuscript. Another is brand, spanking new and being written in collaboration with Karen Lange, of Write Now. Two other manuscripts are sitting, waiting for some attention.

    Thanks for a fun video. We need to lighten the mood every now and then. :)

  3. This is fantastic!!
    Thanks for posting it!

    My favorite stage is idea. Oh, the possibilities! The glory I will achieve! The accolades I will receive!
    And then sit down to write, and reality hits. Boy, it sounded better in my head. What is this? How could this be the best I can do?

    We are a funny lot!!


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