I’ve written one before so you’d think this wouldn’t be a surprise, but wow. Writing a novel is way more work than a short story, or even a novella. It’s not just that it’s a longer work. You have to keep track of tons of details, like suppose you mention that your character is wearing a jacket in one scene, then the next time you’re in their point of view they’re wearing a T-shirt. Where did the jacket go? And in case you’re wondering, in my current novel one of the characters is wearing a jacket because she’s chilly, and now I’m stuck with either having her lose it somewhere, or lugging it along for the next two days because in most of the rest of the scenes it’s too warm to wear the jacket.
The novel is coming along well, in spite of still being unnamed, but it’s been slower going than I expected. On the one hand this is good – it is only my second novel, and it’s helpful to get a handle on how much work each stage is. Work on the first book was spread out over so long that in retrospect it’s hard to remember how long the various phases took. (And these are my phases – I know many other writers, and we all do things differently.) On the other hand, the pace is immensely frustrating. I took the past week off, and have worked on the manuscript for seven days in a row. I’ve made great progress, and am very happy with how things are going, but I expected to be much further along. So … next time I’ll remember this and plan accordingly. I also think my new approach to outlining will help as well. This novel had a very rough outline, and in going through the manuscript it’s been quite clear which sections I’d thought through and which sections I left to deal with later. I hadn’t touched this story for two years, and in comparison to my more recent work, this has many more holes, and the holes are much larger than what I’d be willing to leave now. Hopefully I’m right, and I’m significantly more efficient than I was two years ago. But we’ll see once I start to polish the novel that’s lined up after this one. 🙂