When I started this writing thing a few years ago I began by reading books about writing and doing a lot of research online. Looking for the quick, easy answer on how to write the great American Novel. Needless to say I didn’t find it.
Several of the articles and books consistently mentioned things that I found surprising when I read them and later turned out to be very true:
1. Your reading for pleasure experience will change. You won’t look at books the same. You will start seeing how you would have done things differently. It can become harder to stay down the rabbit hole. I have found that selecting GOOD books that are significantly different than what I am working on makes the reading experience better.
2. The middle is the hardest part. Writing that novel begins to drag around the 30K mark. You probably have figured out how the book is going to end and you just want to get there. I have found that if I am having a hard time getting over the hump that if I drop a mountain on my characters. Introduce something I hadn’t anticipated it goes a long way to energizing my writing. It also helps having critique partners that help keep you motivated and working towards your goals. See this excellent post about goals http://eryncarpenter.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/looking-forward/
3. Writing “The End” after you finally finish your first novel will change you as a person. It is something they can never take away. Achieved something that you probably doubted would ever happen. Maybe something other people doubted about you as well. You have created something out of nothing. What is more, now Hemmingway and Tolkien are just like you. Enjoy it, wallow in the pleasure then get up and do it again.
I have learned a lot of new things about craft and the rules of writing But the things above were truly surprising.