Thursday, December 30, 2010

Completing a Novel

I find that most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one. Flannery O’Connor

This post is kinda related to the previous one. Has it happened to you? You have a great premise. Novel (Ha!). Unique. Unknown to the known world. Yeah, right.

How quickly can the idea devolve into the mundane? Been done? Ordinary? Prosaic? Pretty fast.

There’s something about sustaining a great idea across 75-90,000 words that makes 90% of us who start writing a book, quit. 90%. Don’t you think that’s high? Someone in some workshop tossed the number out. I have no idea how anyone could know that much less check it out. Still. You know it’s a lot of folks.

Let’s say the number is less. I know that I personally have started about two dozen books. Five are completed. So my personal percent is 21% finished. That doesn’t mean, btw, that 79% I quit. I just delayed the re-start. I’ll get back to them. Later. After I finish the new one I just jotted down an idea for.

Here’s my new idea—I volunteer at our community library, so it occurred to me last Monday that I could have my heroine volunteer at a retirement community library. This curmudgeonly fellow starts coming in on her shift. She tries to help him find books, but he is difficult, bordering on rude. But they get together in the end after she shows him the power of unconditional love. Sweet mature lovers romance, yes?

So, I may start it. Or not. Maybe it will join the others in the incubator I call computer files.


  1. Been there. Done that. Have the tee shirt.

  2. Printed front and back, eh? Thanks for dropping in for a read.

  3. I have a binder of almost completed "novels" the one I am editing now is the first one since I was in middle school that I have had the time and perserverance to complete. Theres still characters from the other stories sitting in my head just waiting to finish their story.

  4. I know what you mean, Deirdre. They just keep insisting you listen to them and that you tell their stories. Are you in a critique group? That is really helpful to me. They can help you complete the almost completed!