It’s funny how every book an author writes is different in terms of the process. I’m currently working on book twelve, so you’d think I’d be used to it by now but still some books go more smoothly than others. One thing they all seem to have in common though is that there’s often a lightbulb moment when everything starts to slot into place.
At the start of the week, I was feeling very frustrated because I wasn’t satisfied with the way this new book was going. I knew it needed something more but couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. I carried on writing in the hope that it would come to me, but the novel was beginning to look like a list of events with insufficient threads linking them together.
Then, two nights ago I woke up at five o’clock in the morning, which is the usual time when these things happen. I was fired up with ideas and couldn’t wait to get them down on paper, so I turned to my trusty notepad which I always have at the side of my bed.
I had mixed feelings. It was a real buzz to know I was heading in the right direction, but there was also the frustration of knowing that I’d be wanting an afternoon nap by 3pm just at a time when I wanted to be at my most alert because I wanted to feed all these ideas into my text document.
At the moment I’m rising to the challenge of going through my Sequence of Events (a list of what has happened in each scene) together with ideas for coming scenes and those additional ideas that came to me in the night. I need to look at the structure of the novel as a whole and rejig it, swapping some chapters or scenes around and changing others. I think that you sometimes have to slow down, take a step back and look at how the overall structure is shaping up. It’s like a self-imposed mini structural edit.
This stage of the novel isn’t without its difficulties. Sometimes there is so much going on in your head that you feel as though it could burst. I know there’s a heck of a lot of work still to do with this novel but at least I’m heading in the right direction. I have the main twists figured out and I’m ready to ramp up the suspense.
It would be lovely to hear from other authors on this subject. Do you have a ‘lightbulb moment’ during the writing of a novel and how does it make you feel?