Every time I lament (which is quite often!) about how long a process writing a novel is, my father, if he’s around to hear me, will say, “you know, Jen, for some authors it takes them ten years.
I cringe, curl in, and say “it better not take me ten years.”
I am not a literary writer. Once, I aspired to be one, but I’m not. I’m also not a genre writer. I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle. As a reader, I like my fancy prose, I like lyrical, and I like to think about what I’m reading. I love story, external action, drive. I am thrilled that more and more novels that are released are kind of this hybrid genre-literary style. And as a writer, I strive to emulate them.
Some time ago, I saw an author interviewed on tv (I can’t remember who), and she said it takes her forever to write a novel because she’s continually finding new ways to tell the story.
I didn’t quite understand what she meant at the time. It’s only after I began playing with structure that I really got it. Before that my editing consisted of prose, clarification, characterization, tension, stuff like that. Now, it’s about story. As I begin to re-write my opening for the Nth time, I think back to this author, always finding a better way to tell her story, and I’m reassured that there is an end to this road, there really is a grand finale, where the story is told as it should be.