Worried Novelist Walks Through Hitchin

Almost there. Actually, “there” is one of my multitude of tiny problems. 130,000 words and at the point where major changes are essentially impossible, I’m fussing now over single words and individual – but not quite exactly what I wished they were – sentences.

It is that maddening creative moment when you the writer are down to the level of anguishing over the likes of “I’ve used ‘there’ too often in those two paragraphs.” Or “Rather than three sentences, perhaps make it one sentence joined together with semi-colons?” Or “That is supposed to be ‘at’ not ‘as’. Spell-check missed it! Ugh!”

As you get “there,” you also need to pause, breathe, take an extra-moment or two, and maybe see some ducks:

Because it is difficult not to think “Eh, there be monsters out there…” I find I am increasingly consumed with worry. As I correct issues of “as” that should be “at,” I confess even to having moments of despair. “All of this effort,” my mind races as I look yet again at the screen, “and what if it stinks? I may have to jump into that water in Hitchin town center. But I suspect it may not be deep enough…”

To be a writer is to be forever in some self-doubt.

The last thing I’ve been doing is daydreaming about conquering the universe…

Maybe I’m odd among the writing herd, but I don’t really ever imagine my novels as films. They aren’t written that way. They are books.

I want readers subconsciously to put their own imaginative stamps on what’s between the covers (or visible on the Kindle). Imagination is so much more powerful than a film. No film can ever really capture a novel properly.

The closest perhaps I’ve come to anything “visual” about this Conventions manuscript is I have kept some portraits of men and women of the late 1700s on my desk near to me as I write. That helps me “stay” with them in their era. These aren’t our contemporaries: not only their fashions, but their moral outlooks and life mindsets and expectations, are somewhat different than our own today.

Of course I’m sure that any film made of this novel would be the best movie adaptation of all time. 😉 All kidding aside, if you try to write a book with a film in the back of your mind, I suspect your book-writing must suffer because novels are NOT screenplays. Stop “daydreaming,” focus on writing the best novel you can, and – if you ever hit the lottery – leave any filmmaking to filmmakers.

Hope you’re having a good weekend. 🙂


  1. I’m sure the book is going to be very good, so don’t worry! Yes, I too am maddened when the grammar check on word documents is insufficient. It misses SO many errors! It’s sad really, because if I ever want to go back and read my books in a few years, I don’t think I’ll be able to because there will ALWAYS be something I want to change, some phrasing which I would rather was different. But there comes a time you just have to stop and walk away… :-/

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    • Thanks for the vote of confidence! We writers are a fragile bunch! And there are times I would like to strangle spell-check! I also hate seeing phrasings in my previous books that I would not now use or if I think “Oooh, I’d change that…” But I do look at them again now and then – and I know I will have to revisit those first three especially if I write a fourth such novel. We grow and get better as we write more and more. Well, we hope we do anyway! 🙂

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