Tag Archives: Passive voice

Six Things I’ve Learned from Writing a Novel

Deadly Colors medium1. I’m completely garbage when it comes to spelling.

  • It’s embarrassing! I ought to be ashamed of myself. If you could only see the words I misspell on a regular basis, you’d think I was a moron (I just misspelled the word misspell for the record). I don’t know how I made it past the third grade sometimes. Thank god for spell-check, or this entire post would be unreadable.

2. Your book will be ruined by passive voice.

  • Shout out to my eleventh grade English teacher for telling us we shouldn’t use passive voice. I never saw the problem with it, though. Then I read my own writing—it sounds awful, weak, awkward, stale, [insert other negative adjectives]. It’s hard to avoid it entirely. I still live in a glass house when it comes to b*%#$ing about passive voice, but I try to avoid it like the plague.

3. It’s not as difficult as you think.

  • I went into it thinking it would be a near impossible task that I’d struggle with for the better part of a year. Then I read a book called On Writing by my favorite author Stephen King which changed my whole mindset. He said it shouldn’t take your more than three months to write your first draft. Challenge Accepted! It’s all about setting word count goals. Mine happened to be 1,000 words a day which put me at a finishing time of 80 days. But I found words come easy once you get going, and I finished in a little over two months. If you keep showing up every day, you’ll get it done. It won’t seem like an impossible task, once you get going.

That being said…

4. Rewriting is the real work.

  • My mindset going in: Writing the first draft would take ages. Then, after a couple passes through my novel for spelling and grammar, it’s all set to go. Wrong. Rewriting is exactly that. You have to go through the book, make sure it’s paced correctly for your genre. You need to make sure you develop the characters well, so they don’t become corny, cardboard cutout caricatures—easier said than done. You have to move scenes around, get rid of others, write new ones, and fill every plot hole you originally missed.  Then you send it to other people to look for more problems in the plot (there will be more), and finally someone has to check spelling, grammar and punctuation, as well. Rewriting/editing is the real challenge.

5. If you try really hard, you can come up with all kinds of crazy story ideas.

  • I never thought of myself as a creative person at all. Yet, when I put my mind to it, I create fake people, places, events, brand download (1)names, slogans, etc. Has all of this crap always in my head? I have no idea. Either everyone has the ability to come up with crazy stories straight from their imagination, or I’m a little insane—only time will tell. I like to think the former is true, but you never know, do you?

The picture above is the digital voice recorder I keep on my nightstand. Need story/plot ideas? They seem to come much easier when you’re half asleep for some reason. However, around a third of the recordings on there are inarticulate ramblings from my subconscious (which is a good title for a book, in and of itself).

6. The hardest part about writing is that voice in your head that doesn’t stop screaming, “You suck!”

  • Everyone has an inner critic. I don’t know about you—but mine just won’t shut the #$@& up! It’s sooo easy to give up because you feel you’re not good enough; because you fear what others will say; because you’re afraid of being wrong or standing out; because you don’t want people to think you’re a sociopath—whatever it may be. I’ve managed to overcome those thoughts (for the time being), but it’s a constant struggle.