Today’s a special day, people. Today’s a guest-post day, which is not only super fun but immerses me more and more into the writer/blogger community. Please welcome the amazing Nate Philbrick from You Write Fiction!
Writing a novel is a long, arduous process. It’s not all fun and games. Sometimes it gets difficult…very difficult. But there are certain events—moments, if you will—during the writing phase of a novel project that make all the hard work more than worth it. If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ll know what I mean. The feelings you experience during these moments are hard to put into words, but hey, let’s give it a shot.
WHEN YOU GET THE FIRST SPARK OF AN IDEA
Every story has its genesis in a single moment in time, when the little match you keep in your mind sputters to life with a new idea. Maybe you found inspiration in a song, an image, or a place. Or maybe it was a string of random words, a snippet of conversation that did the trick. Sometimes the spark comes from out of nowhere at all. Whatever the source, it’s that quick moment in time that makes you stop in your tracks and say, “Hmm, I wonder…” to yourself.
WHEN YOU START TO TRULY UNDERSTAND YOUR PROTAGONIST
Protagonists can be tricky and fickle sorts. They’re the characters you spend the most time with, but they’re often also the ones you take the longest to unravel and study. They require time, depth, and understanding. Because of their frequent stubbornness and obscurity, that wait a second moment when you finally begin to see who they truly are is a moment to be cherished. For you, it may happen early on, or it might not happen during the first draft at all. But it’ll come, and when it does…value it.
WHEN YOU FINALLY GET TO WRITE THAT ONE SCENE
Every writer has that one particular chapter or scene in mind when they start a new project that they can’t wait to be able to write. Most of the time, however, you have to make it through a big chunk of your first draft before you get to write that special scene. It might even feel like you chiseled out three hundred pages of story just to build up to that moment. On the plus side, once you do get to write that scene, every word sends a thrill up your fingertips.
WHEN YOU CRY OVER YOUR STORY
A lot of people don’t understand how writers could possibly be brought to tears over fictional characters and events. But I understand, and you probably understand, too. A writer is rarely as vulnerable and connected to their characters as when they’re alone, late at night, crying quiet tears over the story they’re weaving together. That’s one moment that should never be discarded or undervalued.
WHEN ALL THE PIECES CLICK TOGETHER
You know how it goes—your first draft often feels like someone took a puzzle box and dumped all the pieces onto the floor. It’s a mess, and you’re not sure what the big picture is really meant to look like. But you work hard, and you persevere, and then you get to experience the moment when, all of a sudden, the veil is lifted and you see your story from a whole new perspective. Now those pieces on the floor make a whole lot of sense, and you can’t wait to put the last one into place.
WHEN YOU WRITE THE LAST WORDS
Funny, isn’t it, how something as sure and foreseeable as the end of a story can sneak up on you so quickly? If you’re like me, there will be times when you stop typing, blink a few times…and realize you have no more words to write. Your story is done. It’s a bittersweet moment, but that doesn’t take away from the value of experiencing it. A lot of emotions go through your head at once—relief, regret, excitement, and reluctance. These moments are rare, since finishing a book takes a long time, so don’t rush through them. Savor them.
Have you experienced these moments during your writing projects? What was it like? What are some of your favorite parts of the writing process? Drop a comment! In the meantime, have a great day.
– Nate Philbrick