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The seven emotional stages of writing a novel

Pauline Rowson with DI Andy Horton Footsteps on the ShoreMany, if not all fiction writers, ride the emotional roller coaster of emotions when crafting their novel. For me, each stage of writing a novel brings with it a range of different emotions. These range from excitement to frustration, relief, doubt, fear, anxiety plus a whole lot in between.

So here then is the gauntlet of emotions I run while writing one of my crime novels.

1. Excitement

Starting a new novel gives me a real buzz. The idea, the victim, the location or theme is there. I work up the beginning, create some new character sketches, conduct some research. The ideas begin to flow. At this stage I'm not sure where the novel is going or how it will end, I plot as I write. I can't wait to get going on the creative writing and do as soon as I possibly can, usually within two weeks of coming up with the idea. I'm off!

2. Frustration

I thoroughly enjoy the buzz generated by the flow of the creative juices but often wish I could wave a magic wand and that first draft would be dumped directly from my brain on to the computer without all the effort of having to key it in. I try to write the first draft as quickly as possible, with minimal editing, because that slows down the creative process. While writing the first draft I'll also be conducting more research, which in turn often sparks some new ideas.

Frustration is also experienced when I come to a point in the novel where I don't know where the story is going next. Then I need to do more research, think through my characters motivations, do some more plotting.

3. Relief

Once that first draft is written, usually after three months, comes a sense of relief. I've got anything between 80,000 and 100,000 words on my computer screen. The story is there, along with all its faults and flaws, but I have something to work on, to shape and mould into what I hope will be perfection.

It's revision time and I go through the novel and flesh it out, check the structure, the clues, red herrings, motivations and personalities of the characters. Make sure the story holds together and the plot is the best as I can make it with plenty of twists and turns along the way. This may take several revisions and often further research until finally I check that everything hangs together, all the unanswered questions have been answered and the words and phrases used are the correct ones.

4. Doubt

Ah, now come the doubts. Could I change this chapter, this scene, this phrase or word? Could I improve the entire novel, perhaps I should re-write the wretched thing. Help! By now I am so close to it that it is difficult to be objective.

5. Fear

Having gone through several revisions I'm now at the stage where I feel I can no longer change anything. It is as good as it's going to get and I desperately need a fresh eye over it. With a rapidly beating heart, hesitating for several minutes, my finger poised over the send message button, I take a deep breath and off it goes into the ether and to my editor.

6. Hope and Anxiety

OK, so I've cheated here and mentioned two emotions. Hope and anxiety go hand in hand.
Hope that my editor will like the novel and that DI Andy Horton or Art Marvik will live to see another day, while at the same time I experience anxiety that this might not be good enough for publication.

7. Depression

Finally, I thought I should mention here what several writers experience after completing a novel. Some indeed do become depressed others' experience a sense of anti-climax, having lived with their novel for so long it has become so much a part of them and now is the time they have to let go.

Postscript - onwards and upwards

My antidote is to have multiple writing projects on the go, novels and another play, which means that when I have finished writing one novel I can pick up another one or a play and continue working.

Dead Passage an Inspector Andy Horton crime novel

DEAD PASSAGE, number fourteen in the DI Andy Horton series is available in paperback, as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle.

A mysterious telephone call sends Horton on a complex and twisted investigation into the death of a local politician twelve years ago and uncovers a trail of lies, secrets and revenge with roots deep in the past.

"A detective novel in the tradition of Rankin and Harvey." Mystery People Magazine

Lost Voyage a marine based mystery by Pauline RowsonLOST VOYAGE, number three in the Art Marvik mystery thriller series is available in paperback, as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle.

Marvik faces a desperate battle to save others from a ruthless assassin who will stop at nothing in order to protect the secret of the Mary Jo’s last voyage from ever being exposed.

'Plenty of action, I didn't want to put the book down. A good read for mystery/ thriller fans.' Net Galley

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NOVEMBER 23RD, 2018 @ 8:30:44 GMT

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