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The emotional stages of writing a novel

There are many stages in writing a novel and I’m not talking about its construction but the moods associated with it.

First off is eager anticipation swiftly followed by optimism and fascination when I begin thinking through ideas for a new novel, when I start to work on the characters and plot and begin my research.

Next follows a long period of excitement, tension and frustration, as I start writing the first draft straight onto the computer. Excitement because it is fresh unchartered waters and although I have a basic plot outline and character sketches I'm still not sure where the tide will take me and which shore my novel will wash up on. Tension because I am in a hurry to write as fast as I can while my head is full of ideas, and frustration because I can't write quickly enough.

Relief and pleasure come once that first draft has been bashed out and a satisfactory ending is in place along with the correct villain/s and motives. Then the revisions begin in earnest. Once I've cracked the ending I can go back over the novel, fleshing out and shaping the characters, questioning the passages of writing and dialogue, making sure the structure holds; cutting and reshaping.

Once everything that can be done has been done then comes the scariest moment. The novel is copy edited and printed. No more changes can be made.  The final product is in your hand or on the screen  Is it good enough?  Will readers like it? Will the reviews be OK?  Could I have changed that. Improved this. Maybe I should….

Enough.  It’s done. Another crime novel is published.   It’s time to move on, and start working on the next novel... and the next... Even after having twenty crime novels published these emotions stay true to form.

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AUGUST 30TH, 2019 @ 14:51:41 BST

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