Writing a Novel

Illustration of the devil, page 577. Legend ha...
Image via Wikipedia (this picture gets recommended every time I mention the title of my book - ha!)

I’m completely re-writing my novel, Devil’s Blood, at the moment.  And I’ve tried really hard not to get distracted with other stuff.  But while re-reading some of my old notes on what I needed to check for on the old novel, I came across a list of things to search for and destroy.

Things like: -ly adverbs, ‘as’ constructions, and passive sentences.  Plus other big-ticket items like tying up some plot loose-ends, getting rid of a running joke in the book that nobody realized was a joke, and removing all the footnotes and transforming them into succinct phrases in the narrative.  And I’m sure there are a bagillion other things that I need/needed to do.

Though this to-do list will still be somewhat valid after the re-write, I’ve kind of set it aside till I complete the re-write.  Then, I plan to pull out the list again and go through the manuscript with my editor hat on (it’s a small hat).

But, why do all that?  Why not just write prefect prose the first time round?

Well, we all know the answer to that question…because I can’t.  If I could write perfectly the first time, I wouldn’t be blogging about the mechanics of writing.  I’d be writing.

Anyway, sometimes all these nit-picky things get me down and I just ignore them and try to remember to just write.  That was going pretty darn well until I got the latest Writer’s Digest e-newsletter.

In it, they had an article titled 25 Ways to Improve Your Writing in 30 Minutes a Day.  I thought – oh, that could be useful and clicked on the link.

Egads!  The 25 things they list I don’t even have on my radar.  Voice? Style? Flow?  Damn it, people, I’m just trying not to confuse the reader.  You expect style?


Don’t get me wrong, I was vaguely aware of all these things.  These topics were mentioned in the few writing classes that I took, but I’ve been so focused on plot and getting my characters from point A to point B, I have put all those other things on the back burner.  I figured all that stuff would just come.  Out of thin air, I suppose.

After skimming the article, I realized there’s a lot more I have to work on, and one way for me to learn a concept is to write about it.  So…guess what the next 25 posts will be about?

You guessed it!  At irregular intervals, I’ll try to summarize the concepts presented in the article and attempt to apply the techniques or ideas to a few choice paragraphs in my novel.

Until then,



11 thoughts on “Writing a Novel

  1. Love the picture of the devil. Reminds me of past relationships and last night’s midnight snack.

    Are you doing Novel writing month? I think I may try something, though I don’t do long form well.

    Lalalala. That’s what I hear when I write for more than thirty minutes. I think the doctors call it ADD. (I don’t really have ADD, just laziness).

    Good luck with the revisions.

  2. A novel from you would be very interesting indeed – you should try it! If you can’t write for more than 30 minutes, then don’t, but come back to the same train of thought the next day.

    I didn’t start, but I finished the first draft of Devil’s Blood last year during NaNoWriMo (November). I hope to be finished with the re-write before then. So, if I do it again, I’ll use it to finish the second novel, Guilt’s Heart. I don’t do it officially.

    Yeah, the devil picture is pretty funny. Funnier now that I think of it as last night’s midnight snack. 😉

  3. You are my hero right now — it looks like we’re both at similar phases of the writing process. I completed the first draft of my novel a couple years ago, and I’m plugging away at my “texturing” as well.
    I never thought I would grow to revile a part of speech, but adverbs are like dandelions when you think you’ve taken them all out of your yard only to have a whole new batch crop up. Insidious little critter, the adverb.
    In my mind’s eye right now, those adverbs look like that wee devil in the polka dotted underpants.

    1. Okay, I read ‘hero’ and the rest just faded to the background…


      I’m with ya on adverbs. I can’t believe how well they breed.

      By the way, what’s the address of your blog? It’s not showing up…

      1. The address of my writing blog is http://emmiemears.wordpress.com and the other little meandering blog I keep is (rather appropriately) http://emmiesmeanderings.wordpress.com

        Happy perusing!

        The king of the obnoxious adverbs for me in the first half of my novel was “slightly.” Everything was slightly complicated or so-and-so swung his sword slightly (not really, but…). It was “slightly” obnoxious weeding all of those out. I found I could just omit them and say what I wanted to say. Timid little first draft.

      2. Ha! Mine are ‘very’ and ‘just’. Not really -ly adverbs, but those are my worst. Not that I don’t heap on all the others as well. But, yeah, first drafts…don’t have to love ’em but they are rather necessary to get to that other thing – the finished novel!

  4. By the way, I just might end up having to post about the 25 Ways as well. This stage is kind of glorious, but it is challenging every day.

    1. You know, even though it is a pain and I’ve only gotten to the fourth (fifth?) point in that article, I think it is making me aware of things I hadn’t been before. So, at least, there’s that.

      1. Definitely. At the very least, it’s a linear list of things to go through in the revision. For me first draft is vomit draft, then clean up, then polish. That list helps with parts two and three for sure.

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