I Have No Idea What I’m Doing With This Novel

by Shelt Garner

I really have no idea what I’m doing with this novel. But the outline I’m working on keeps drifting towards something I hope to be very pleased with, so I keep going. I’ve finally reached the point where I fully understand that writing a novel is a marathon, so just because a solution to an immediate problem won’t come to me right away, doesn’t mean it won’t soon enough.

Right now, I’m doing a lot of reading. They say if you have enough time to write, you have enough time to read. So I’m grazing a lot when it comes to reading. I have a number of books — a small library, in fact — of books I hope to read over the coming days to improve not just the general conceit of the novel, but the characters who in habit it, as well.

But, like I said, I have no idea what I’m doing. Yet I do hope to start writing again soon enough. Absolutely no later than July 1st. I am going to have to do a huge amount of reading to get to the point where even the outline is as good as I need it to be before I go to the next step of fleshing out individual lines in the outline.

I look over what I have done of the outline and I’m very pleased. I’ve made considerable progress on the outline in large part because I am no longer attempting to draft off of Stieg Larsson. I’m telling my story, not his (which I was doing on a structural level.) But I continue to use his book The Girl Who Played With Fire as my “textbook” as to how to write a novel.

But I definitely need to read more novels, just in general. And watch more movies. A whole lot more movies. I saw Chinatown for the first time recently and the ending left me shook. Anyway, I really need to be willing to go outside my creative comfort zone more.

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