My journey to become a novelist

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I started my first novel as a senior in high school.

It began as a short story about two characters in a fantasy world, and as I recall was inspired by the 1980s Robin Hood television show. Before I began my novel, I had completed a beast of a project, a 20-page short story. It was for one of my classes, and until that point had been the longest thing I had ever written. After that challenge, I would have been scandalized if someone told me I could write an entire novel.

So I wasn’t writing a novel that day. I just had an image, a scene in my head that wouldn’t leave me alone.

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Judging a book by its cover

Novels are a collection of ideas and images and characters and philosophies and stories, all twisted up in a blender until all the bits come together into a coherent series of words that we recognize as a book.

These words then get wrapped up in their cover like a Christmas present, with shiny and colorful paper that includes the title and author.

Some books have fantastic covers, others… not so much.

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When a writer becomes a novelist

Thanks to a colleague’s suggestion, this year I took the NaNoWriMo plunge. With less than a month to fashion the concept of a novel, I signed up, drank the koolaid, and jumped off the cliff. I’ve been writing fiction since grade school, but only in November 2013 did I really start to think of myself as a novelist. And that’s not because I “won” NaNo by writing over 50,000 words, though I did (71,664 to be exact). Nor is it because I “finished” a novel in 30 days, though I did that as well (see below for the synopsis). I think of myself as a novelist now becase I realize that the art of writing a book isn’t just about putting words down, creating fun characters, and entertaining yourself. It’s actually hard work that requires a great deal of commitment and focus, and many lessons learned along the way. NaNoWriMo offers writers the opportunity to plunge forth into the alchemical … Read more…