A to Z Challenge: About Writing Your First Novel

Before I start, I just want to give a HUGE shout-out to Arlee. Thank you for creating this awesome blogfest! It’s definitely one of the highlights of my blogging year.Β 

And now, back to the original posting.

Congratulations on choosing to write a novel. It will give you hours on hours of pleasure and you’ll love every single moment of it.

Veteran novelists, STOP GUFFAWING.

It is truly the easiest art –

Novelists! Stop laughing this instant! It’s rude.

Ahem. Easiest art to partake in. After all, you’ve written e-mails and memos for years.

Seriously, vets. How do you expect me to trap people if you make me sound ridiculous. Can you at least limit your response to chortling?


Oh fine.

Writing a novel is an amazing passion. And I’m not calling it a hobby for a reason. Nothing you’ve ever done before will prepare you for writing 50+ thousand words of cohesive story.

It’ll consume you. Sometimes, it’ll treat you well. Those times are amazing. They’re what makes writing worth the struggle.

But struggles there are many. I’m going to share some of them this month, so you know what you’re up against. This isn’t intended to scare you off, but to arm you with knowledge you’ll require. Because a big part of what makes the struggle really difficult is thinking that you’re the only one.

You’re not.

So if you really want to write a novel, be prepared to feel the burn. If not, I think you should find something else to devote the majority of your free time to.

Who’s sticking around?


Welcome to the madhouse, ladies and gentlemen! I hope you enjoy your stay!

Okay novelists! Now you get to have your say. Any advice to the new recruits?

119 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: About Writing Your First Novel

  1. I began writing without a clue as to how it was done. Makes me wonder whether I would have undertaken the challenge knowingly. I'd like to think so because the rewards are definitely worth it.

  2. I had no idea what I was doing when I first got started, and maybe I should have waited longer before joining a writing group, because I lost some of the freshness for awhile on one story that in looking over my older notes, I'm trying to put back in. But the group improved my writing skills so much that my newer stories started off phenomenally better, so I can't say I regret it.

  3. Oh yeah the rewards are definitely worth it. And I don't think not knowing will kill you, but I think a lot of people give up too soon because they don't know what they let themselves in for. πŸ˜€

  4. Not being a novelist, I will just nod and agree, and be impressed that you're getting published! That's awesome.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog–not sure what a minion is (in this context), but I imagine that means I'll see you again!

  5. Cool topic choice :). Very well put. My advice to those just starting on their first novel, you don't have to write starting at the beginning and ending at the end if it doesn't work for you. Experiment with how you write and find out what is best for you.

    Also, never give up, never surrender! πŸ˜‰

  6. Excellent theme, Misha!

    As for advice, I'm going to say something that might be contrary to what other novelists have said. Don't be afraid to give up – at least temporarily. If writing is your passion, don't give up entirely, but know when to take breaks. Know when to step away from a project. Know when it's okay to do something else, because you've just worked through the night writing thousands of words.

  7. LOL! Sorry, I was one of those laughing my way through the post…I really hope your day 2 is blood…for the blood you sweat every minute of writing. LMAO. πŸ˜‰ Love the theme, look forward to your posts this month!

  8. Fun post! Hmmmm, my advice would be to have a good stash of candy to bribe yourself with when you just really really don't want to sit down in front of the lap top and revise a scene for the 50th time.

  9. I was definitely laughing.

    Okay, here it is, I'll give you the secret to writing a novel:

    Write one word. Then write the next word. Repeat.

    And simple advice is often the hardest to follow.

  10. Madhouse is correct. And sleepless nights. Oh and you'll find you will talk to yourself (really your characters but from the outside view, you look like you need a straight jacket) LOL
    I wouldn't trade this for anything. Just don't ever give up.

  11. Nice post!

    There is much pain and perseverance involved in writing a novel, and much wine, I find that helps πŸ˜‰ However, when you get in the groove, it is the best thing ever to be writing and I wouldn't give it up for a minute.

  12. I suppose in the back of their minds everyone wants to write a novel (or has aspirations of doing so). I've never reached the point where I've decided to actually do it, but I will offer some advice. Write. Write a lot. It doesn't have to be gold. It doesn't have to be relevant. The more you write the easier it is and the better you become at it. So when you're ready to begin your novel, start writing and keep writing.

  13. The key to writing is never stop and don't give up. I've struggled with my novel for a while now, but I'm not tossing it aside. Perseverance pays off.

  14. Those are so true. There are no hard and fast rules to writing. Someone could write backwards, if it worked for him/her.

    And also, not giving up is really the only thing standing between a writer and finishing a novel.


  15. Agreed. Before I named Doorways, it was called The Beast. Not because of anything but the fact that the story snarled and kicked my ass repeatedly in the many years it took me to write it.

  16. I was laughing, but only to do the faint-hearted a favor πŸ˜€

    I've heard it said that if anyone can be discouraged from writing, they should be. I don't believe this is meant in a mean way, just that writing is full of discouragement, so be prepared!

  17. Oh yeah!

    One time, I had my mother walk in on me while I was acting out a fight scene. Necessary in that I needed to know what went where and when.

    But I still looked like a major dork.

    Sadly, it's only one in a long line of such embarrassments.

  18. So true. There's nothing like the rush of knowing the story suddenly fell together right. Or when everything just goes right and you write write write without end until you come to a place you need to stop.

    And then you realize you'd written 10k in six hours.

  19. Well, continuing on the not-being-mean theme, I think it's safe to say that if someone can be discouraged from writing, they will be.

    It's just that challenging on so many levels.

    I mean, I had to pick 26 topics for my series, but trust me, many more came up than what I had space for.

  20. Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed your post today. I'm really not a writer, but it's interesting what you had to say and I'm sure I'll be back.

  21. So true. I take part in more than one artform, but nothing is quite as challenging nor as creative as writing.

    With writing, I get the chance to really create worlds, and people, and histories. I can make them live in my mind and in the minds of others.

  22. My advice? Don't keep going back and repolishing your first chapter. Often that first chapter ends up in the garbage, so it's better to just keep moving forward.

    I hate to admit how many first chapters I have buffed to a high shine only to realize they were little more than launchpads that I should have discarded at blast off!

    Happy A to Z to you!


  23. Great post! It seems like I started writing with all of those misnomers in mind. Sometimes you just have to do it then learn from it, but the most important thing is to do it! ❀

  24. Great post! Be prepared to write a first draft then rip it to shreds. Seek advice and critiques – surround yourself with as many like-minded people as possible because you'll need them!

  25. I admit I was laughing more than a little bit. πŸ˜€ What a great idea for a theme. And a great way to celebrate your soon to be published first novel!!

    I think your advice is all spot-on. It's amazing how time-consuming the process can be but it sure is worth it to jump in that madhouse.

  26. You might be the perfect woman. You have the main requirement a sense of humor that can get everyone laughing. The replies show it. Thanks for stopping by my blog..

  27. Writing a novel is a long-term committment, and you really have to enjoy the novel–because you'll be thinking about it, re-reading it and revising it probably a dozen times.

    Most people feel they have a novel in them. Maybe they do, but very few ever get it out of them, successfully.

  28. Hey Misha,

    Indeed, keep the passion alive and with the inspiration within and the encouragement of others, it will be so.

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar is more than willing to give any author, established or aspiring, her 'pawsitive' advice!

    Have fun with the alphabet challenge. And I found out those involved with this, start with the letter “A”. Very interesting! πŸ™‚

  29. Oh yeah! That one I remember from when I started out too. I used to edit as much as write while drafting, but couldn't figure out why my stories kept losing soul.

    Nowadays I write by hand to keep myself from polishing crap.

  30. Reading is so important, but it's one I admit I still struggle with.

    Not because I don't like reading. (Would be impossible to write if I didn't enjoy reading.) But rather because certain portions of my creative process require me being in edit mode.

    Which makes reading anything a pain in the neck.

  31. “because you'll be thinking about it, re-reading it and revising it probably a dozen times”

    And that's before you sell the story to an editor. Then you do it all over again.

  32. So true. In fact, I'd say that it's better to get annoyed with non-writing people for saying stupid things about writing than taking their opinions to heart.

    They don't have a clue.

  33. Be prepared to spend years on a book, depending on how long it is, how much editing it needs, and what kind of time you have to work on it. And as a typography geek, I have to urge writers to find a font that speaks to them. You'll be typing in that font for hundreds of pages, so there's no reason to pick one you don't like or that doesn't have a personal resonance.

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