Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Path of the Novel-in-Progress

As many of you undoubtedly know—or have discovered—or will discover soon!—the process of writing a novel does not exactly follow a clear pathway. Perhaps that’s one of the things I enjoy about cooking: Follow these directions and you will produce a cake. With a novel, it’s more like, Follow these directions and God be with you.

We know the famous sayings:

You only learn how to write the novel you’ve just finished.

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” Somerset Maugham

Or consider this quote from an interview I read long ago with Alice McDermott: “I write the first half of a novel without knowing what I’m doing. I write the second half knowing exactly what I’m doing and that I’m totally wrong in doing it.” (Note that Alice McDermott is a best-selling, major-awarding-winning, totally accomplished novelist.)

So I was amused to see this chart that actually does outline the steps of novel-writing—quite accurately. Before you click too soon, beware…if you’re partway through a novel, you may not want to see what lurks ahead. And if you haven’t yet begun…well, God be with you! As for my novel in progress, dare I confess that I may be in the homestretch, heading to the final destination on the chart…at least for this draft?

(Link via Tingle Alley.)


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.