Novel Writing

You need to write a cheap, crappy novel. No, seriously. I mean it.

English: penulis = writer
Writers write. It’s that simple. | English: penulis = writer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, I have been feeling hopelessly stuck on the *Great American Novel* I have been writing for the past year. I wasn’t getting anywhere, and I wasn’t writing much of anything. I was feeling like I should stop referring to myself as a writer since I wasn’t writing anything. Then I decided to take a break from my *real* novel and knock out a cheap piece of crud just for the fun of it. I needed to write SOMETHING.

And so, I spit out a 16 chapter teen/dystopian story in 16 days and called it a finished first draft. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s only 22,935 words, so it’s full of holes and pretty crappy. But I think I can pound it into something worth reading at the beach. It may not be the Great American Novel, but it feels like a win to me.

Probably the greatest benefit I gleaned from this experiment was a new perspective on structure. I learned a few things from coughing up this cheap little thing that I will probably end up self-publishing under a nom de plume because there’s a good chance I won’t consider it good enough to put my real name on it. I learned that the problem with my *real* novel is that I need to pull out the old ax and start chopping off some limbs.

If you are struggling with your Great American (or British, or wherever else you may happen to call home) Novel, then maybe it’s time to take a break and experiment with something different. Write something fast and simple without putting any great expectations on yourself. Do it for practice. Do it for fun. Do it so you can write something and keep referring to yourself as a writer.

Once you have written that cheap novel, revise it a couple of times just to practice revising a cheap piece of crap. Get some writer friends together to read it and howl over it with you. Then be extra outrageous and self-publish that damn thing. It will be a great learning experience, even if you never sell a single copy (although, surely your mom will buy one!)

My next experiment is going to be a cheap romance novel stuffed full of erotica, and it is going to be funny as hell. Because writing should be fun once in a while.

What pen name should I slap on my cheap novels? Please post your suggestions in the comments below.

~Amanda L. Webster

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5 thoughts on “You need to write a cheap, crappy novel. No, seriously. I mean it.”

  1. If find forcing (yes, sometimes it does require force), myself to write a creative vignette in my daily journal each day keeps my fingers and creative muscles nimble. I toss all the rules about structure but, I do try to make each sentence seamlessly slide into the next, adding some coherence to the exercise. Sometimes we forget to write, even as writers. We are like squirrels burying nuts; we don’t remember where we put them all but, if we start digging, we’re bound to come up with something. Thanks for your post!

    1. I do that in my journal too. I’ve been writing in this fairy-themed journal that has little decorative areas in the margins for jotting notes. I try to come up with some kind of creative little ditty for each of those spots. It really stretches the mind!

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