However, I’ve done exactly that to the characters in my novel.
I have not written a single word of that story in months. Hell, I haven’t even opened up the file on the laptop, or given the project a moment of my time.
For those of you not familiar with this endeavor, a writer friend convinced me to turn the blog’s Halloween short story into a full length novel.
I really dove into the project when I was furloughed at the start of the pandemic, and even when I returned to work, I was on such a creative roll that I found the time to keep going.
Once I hit Chapter 15, though, I hit a wall.
I got about halfway through the chapter and just couldn’t go any further. At first, I blamed it on my bizarre writing process.
And by “bizarre writing process” I mean the fact that I write without an outline, rarely have any idea where a story is headed, and simply rely on the characters to take me on a journey that I agree to properly punctuate.
I might have written myself into a corner, but it wasn’t like I couldn’t work my way out of it. All it would normally take is my going for a long run, and allowing the story to marinade in my head as I pounded out the miles.
It was like the characters had abandoned me, and refused to tell me what happened next.
I considered deleting the chapter and starting from scratch, but I couldn’t bring myself to eliminate a part of the characters’ lives. Who was I to play god? What if the exchanges that took place in those pages meant something to the characters? How could I simply erase that moments from existence?
I know what you’re thinking. I’ve totally lost it. But when you’re a writer, you bond with your characters. They are a part of you. It’s difficult to slash entire sections of a story after allowing the characters to accept that they were a part of their lives.
But I think there was something going on beyond this little bit of writer’s block. After all, I can write my way out of any roadblock.
This was a deeper problem.
For one, they story is about two people who meet on Halloween, and then slowly fall for each other over the course of the holiday season.
So as the holiday season unfolded, and I was once again, hopelessly alone, I couldn’t bring myself to write about two people falling in love during the very same time period.
Maybe more importantly, I think I became overwhelmed with thoughts of future failure. I know nothing about writing a novel or getting one published. Here I was, pouring my heart and soul into a project, and I had this gnawing thought at the back of my brain that all the effort would go for naught.
I’d finish a brilliant story, but then not be able to do anything with it. These characters, who thought they were just going to live in a blog post for the rest of their lives, suddenly believed they were going to exist in a novel where they would entertain a much larger audience.
I had gotten up my hopes based on feedback from the select few who were allowed to read the early chapters.
And I just didn’t want to deal with that disappointment. Not after all the near misses and heartbreak in my writing career.
I’d like to go back to writing the novel. I never feel better than when I’m lost in my stories.
I just don’t want to waste my time creating something I want the world to read, and then not be able to get that story out to an audience.
Maybe self-publishing is an option, but I know nothing about that world. I’d love to have an agent or manager who could handle such things, but I have no representation.
I’ve always hoped a publisher or agent would stumble across my blog, and reach out to me, but that has never happened despite over a million views.
Writing has always been therapeutic, so I thought I’d put this jumbled mess of thoughts down on the blog, send them out into the internet, and see what happens.
I miss the characters, I miss the story they’re trying to tell me, and I miss the escape I’ve found in the novel’s pages.
I’m open to your infinite wisdom, Modern Philosophers, so please share any deep thoughts or opinions on the matter. It would be greatly appreciated…