The 12 Stages Of Writing A Novel

The 12 Stages Of Writing A Novel



The “Hehe” Stage

Ah. Just beginning your novel. Writing that first paragraph and feeling very giggly that you’re actually giving your novel a go. You’re also a little giggly because you’re not taking it very seriously. You know that this is probably just another one of your lame projects that you’re going to give up as soon as you’ve started.

The “Ooh” Stage

This is the bit where you find that you haven’t given up yet. You’re actually enjoying the whole writing a novel thing. You get up early so you can write before work. You’re having fun and, for some unknown reason, you keep going back to it. You keep thinking, “Ooh, I didn’t think this was going to happen.” “Ooh, I’m still doing this”. “Ooh”.

The Dissertation Stage

The bit where you’e written as many words as you had in your dissertation. It’s not that impressive because your dissertation didn’t have that many words but still. You HAD to write your dissertation. You didn’t HAVE to write this novel. It’s pretty cool.

The “Fuck, I’ve Written Over 20 000 Words Stage”

This is more than your dissertation and your novel is actually beginning to take shape. You know what you want it to be. When people ask you how many words you’ve written, you tell them, and they don’t know what it means. They don’t know what 20 000 words looks like. You don’t either. You just see it on your computer but you have no idea what it looks like in an actual book. You laugh because it’s probably only a chapter.

The “Oh My God I’m Having So Much Fun” Stage

You can’t quite believe that you STILL haven’t given up yet. This is the biggest thing you’ve ever done and you love it and you’re proud of yourself for still doing it. You look forward to writing it. You take notes about what you want to write when you’re away from it. You wake up in the middle of the night knowing EXACTLY what should happen next. You write it down on your phone. It makes no sense in the morning, but it doesn’t matter. You carry on anyway.

The “Shit. Should This Be A Real Thing Stage?”

You’ve written a lot now. It really is turning into an actual novel and you start thinking about getting it published, making it real.

The “LOL What Am I Thinking Stage?”

You start reading bits of your novel and you imagine someone else reading it. You suddenly hate it. Everything you’ve written is stupid, boring, and unoriginal. Everyone has said what you’ve said before. You’re doing nothing new or interesting. You’re never going to get published.

The Forgetting About It Stage

You stop. You don’t write. And you don’t write for a really long time. It bugs you. This unfinished novel is aways in the back of your mind but you can’t get back to it. It’s rubbish and there’s nothing you can do to make it better.

The Going Back To It Stage

You’re bored one day so you open your novel. You skim through it. You have a new perspective because you’ve been away from it for a little while. It’s not as bad as you thought it was. Sometimes you like what you’re saying. Sometimes you think that there hasn’t been a story like yours before. You tentatively start to type.

The Committing Stage

You know now that no matter what, you’re going to finish this novel. You’re marrying it. You’re saying your vows. You know it’s not going to be easy but you don’t want to give up.  You keep telling yourself you’ll get drunk when you finish it.

The Rollercoaster Stage

Like all commitments, it isn’t easy. You have your good days. You LOVE writing and it makes you happy. You couldn’t live without it. Your novel’s always open on your laptop. Always there for you to dive back into – which you do, regularly. But then there’s the bad days. Your character is too one-dimensional, the narrative doesn’t make any sense, your grammar is all over the place, there’s only one perspective. Who wants to read a novel that just has one opinion? NO ONE. But still you carry on. You’re in it for the long run.

The Coming To The End Stage

You have as many words in your novel as other novels have. How the fuck did that happen? You know exactly how you want it to end but you’re scared to write it. Because once you write it, you’ll have to read it – and it might be crap. You know there is a lot of rubbish in it. You know that once you finish it, you’re going to have to go back and edit, edit, edit, and edit again and again and again. And that’s only if it’s worth all the edits. It might not be. It’s a well known fact that first novels are often terrible. You might have to scrap it and start again. You’re still going to finish it though.

So as I’ve actually not finished my novel, this is the stage I’m at. Better get back to it, I suppose.



Too Much Time

Too Much Time


I’ve had a lot of time on my hands recently, which is probably why I’ve started blogging again. Like last week I had the flu, which meant I spent the majority of time in bed, eating ice cream and listening to Harry Potter (don’t say I don’t know how to treat myself). Then it was my birthday and I’d already booked a couple of holidays off work and then, miraculously, I somehow got three days off in row. I think it’s probably because I’m working a seven day straight after these three days so they’re bringing me up before they bring me down.

Stupid corporate world.

It’s been a little weird having this much free time. I definitely haven’t used it wisely. I’m not even sure how I’ve spent it if I’m honest. OH, I KNOW!!! I was Facebook stalking someone and saw they’d put up a picture of some custard, a spoon, and a tv series I’d never heard of before. Now, the girl that I was stalking was someone I knew from University (and by “knew” I mean we were shoved into a presentation group for one semester and so would meet once a week so I could tell her the plot of the novel she hadn’t read), and she was pretty awesome. I had a I-want-to-be-her sort of crush on her. Her eyebrows were always untidy and she smoked and she did creative writing and was Glaswegian and lived with her Mum and a cat – see? She’s really is pretty awesome, which is why I occasionally stalk her so I can find out where I’m going wrong.

ANYWAY, back to my free time. So I saw the custard, the spoon, and the tv series, and I thought, You know what? That looks like a pretty swell way to spend my evening so I started watching the tv series. It’s called Sugar Rush – ever heard of it? If you haven’t, I would THOROUGHLY recommend it. It’s about a gay teenage girl living in London who has a massive crush on her hot best friend. I’m actually so jealous that I didn’t write it. It’s quirky and funny and intelligent and everything I would hope to write one day.

Other than that, I’ve just been chilling. I’m sitting in a cafe right now. I’ve just ordered a cappuccino, even though I only ever drink coffee in summer. I’m actually so excited for summer. Well, I’m looking forward to the longer, sunnier days (I realise I live in Scotland, but I’m being optimistic), but I’m also feeling a little nervous because I’m giving myself until summer to figure out my life, career, future plans bla bla bla. I’ll probably do absolutely nothing about them in true me style, but it’s good to have goals.

Ooh, my coffee’s just arrived and it looks and smells delicious. I’ve probably totally ruined it by putting three sugars in it.


I’m sort of dreading going back to work tomorrow. I’m working in an opticians and whenever I go away for a wee while, knowledge about contact lenses and wear schedules and cataract surgery completely falls out of my head. I’m just really hoping it’s not my lens lesson day tomorrow. That’s when I have to teach people how to wear contact lenses and my lessons are so sketchy that we should probably be sued. The patients look at me all red eyed and teary, having finally managed to put their contact lenses in (probably inside out) and ask, “Was that ok?” and I just smile and nod, while inwardly I’m completely freaking out that I’ve blinded them.

(I’ve finished my coffee so I’ve decided to order a smoothie. It’s called Purple and it’s got beetroot, raspberry, and banana in it. I’m excited and proud of myself for being healthy.)

Once I finish my novel, I’m totally going to write a tv series based in an Opticians. I can’t believe it’s never been done before. My colleagues can – they think that no one would like to watch something so unbelievably boring as a tv series based in an Opticians, but I think they’re wrong. I actually think they’re just worried about how I’m going to portray them, which I guess is a pretty reasonable worry. Whenever I write about people, I do tend to portray them in a somewhat negative light. I don’t mean to. I normally write about people I really like as well, but they just come off as monsters, idiots, or alcoholics. I keep telling everyone that the characters will just be based on them and that I’m going to exaggerate like CRAZY, but they’re still very apprehensive. OOH, my smoothie’s arrived. And it looks so pink, healthy, and delicious!

Takes sip of smoothie and almost gags.

Yep. It tastes like soil.

Long Time No Write

Long Time No Write

Aww man, I’m rusty – I’m RUSTY! Beginning a blog has never taken me this long before. I usually love the beginnings. They come so easy, so naturally, but today it’s like finding invisible pearls in a mammoth bucket of oysters.

God, my analogies have got pretty bad as well.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I’ve actually been attempting to write a novel. I don’t know if it’s any good. Well, it’s probably shit, but it’s been a mixture of highs and lows, if I’m honest. Like sometimes, I just can’t stop writing. I’m writing and writing and writing and I’m getting all flustered and excited and I think that I’m a genius, but then I read over it and I want to jump on my computer and kill myself.

Writer’s block’s a bitch as well. I find tea always helps, and if tea fails to spark some inspiration then wine is the next logical step.

But other than writing and drinking tea and then sometimes wine, I’ve been attempting to be a proper grown-up. There was actually a spell where I didn’t write at all. You see, in August I started a real, full-time job and I’ve never been good with change. I’m a creature of habit who dreams of change, but when it inevitably comes, I end up having to hide behind books and locking myself in cubicles at lunchtime. I never learn, either. Whenever I reach the end of some sort of phase of life, I find myself dreaming of the next stage, all excited and counting down the seconds, and then the next stage arrives and, like I said, it’s books and cubicles for a while.

Beginning work was like that. It was a bit embarrassing, really. I couldn’t sleep; if I tried to have something to eat before going to work, I would throw it all back up; I would get drunk and cry (and I’m always such a happy drunk); I couldn’t put down Harry Potter (my ultimate comfort read), and I had a million kazillion meltdowns. My boyfriend was like, Who are you and what have you done with my cool, hip girlfriend?!?!?! Ok, I’d probably never been cool and hip, but I definitely managed to hide the majority of my crazy from him up until that point. But good news, he’s still with me!!!!! I must be awesome at blowjobs.

(Ha, I’m actually really bad at them – my gag reflex is way too active for those kinds of shenanigans).

Aaaanyway, I soon got over the crazy and now, I am LOVING LIFE. (Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a my-life-is-so-awesome kind of blog; I’m still working in a reception on minimum wage for 9 hours a day and having to deal with the most snobby people I have ever met). But honestly, I’m just grateful to have left University. I feel like such a middle class spoiled brat who takes her education for granted when I say this, but I really, really, really, really, didn’t like it there. Not even a little bit. Students terrified me, the work terrified me, tutors terrified me, the buildings were too fancy, the library too big and you needed a degree just to figure out how to work the cafeteria.

I don’t know why I didn’t leave. I mean, I guess it’s good to have a degree, but I feel like such a fraud. No, I’m definitely glad I stayed and got through it, but at the same time, it SUCKED. ASS. I get that for some people, it’s the best place in the world to be, but I wasn’t a student and I’ve never really been one, if I’m honest. I loved school, but I always had such nice teachers who let me read and write pretty much whatever I wanted. It was not like that at University. Actually, that’s a lie. There was one tutor who was the absolute bees knees. I think he hated University as much as me – Mr Paddy Lyons. He was probably one of the scariest tutors in the place, but for some reason, I was never scared or nervous about his tutorials. I’d watch him make students cry and be like, Yeeeah, go Padster. He seemed to be the only English tutor who actually cared about stories.

At work, I’m the only one who works in reception who has a degree and yet I’m the one who makes the most mistakes. I’m honestly the worst receptionist there’s ever been. It’s turned into a running joke. I forget to pass on messages, still don’t really know how to transfer calls, bin things I don’t know what to do with, and shred paper I don’t like the look of. I’m hopeful that one day, this whole reception lark will click into place, but until then I’ll continue to cause mayhem.

I’ve been told it’s not normal to get on so well with your colleagues. I asked them the other day – that if every job was like this one. And they all said no. That this is the only job they’ve had where everyone actually really likes each other. I think it works because everyone is their complete, crazy self. I’d love to go into detail, but that would be a little unprofessional.

We had a girls night out on Saturday. We went to see Dream Boys – a big, muscly strip show. I’d never seen so many willies before. I was actually petrified. I tried to get drunk in the staff room before we left, but it didn’t happen. You know how sometimes you’re so nervous about something that not even alcohol can help? That’s what I was like. Turns out, it was just a really good night. My friend got pulled up on stage and got a willy slapped in her face – it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. She then texted her husband to let him know about the willy slapping and two minutes later got a reply from her mum saying, Oh dear, I’m not sure that text was for me? That was even funnier than the actual willy slapping.

This night out was a whole two days ago, but I still feel hungover. No work today though – woop, woop. I’m having a movie day instead.

I love being a grown-up.