General Question

Pol_is_aware's avatar

Why haven't you written a novel yet?

Asked by Pol_is_aware (1536 points ) April 29th, 2009

I ask myself this question with increasing frequency. So, what’s your excuse?

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72 Answers

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

I’ve written a childrens book, I hope to publish it soon and hopefully continue writing more.
I aspire to be the next dr suess

live_rose's avatar

I get writers block half way in. But I’m trying again I can’t keep stories out of my head

oratio's avatar

I am writing. The trick is to finish it. I keep doubting the outcome, and start on a new one.

willbrawn's avatar

Because unlike my uncle who is currently editing his first novel. I have a job, a wife, and I don’t live with my parents. He’s three years older than me. I just don’t have the time I would like to spend on it.

qashqai's avatar

I’m not ready for that amount of success, yet.

Staalesen's avatar

I am… it just take time with a broken arm….

Fyrius's avatar

I’m working on one. In the preliminary stages. I don’t spend much time on it, but I’ve been occasionally adding and elaborating ideas for the past two years or so. My sparks of inspiration are relatively few and far between, but I’m not in a hurry.
I haven’t really figured out the characters yet, my world needs more elaboration, and while the backstory has become rather intricate by now, the plot still needs some work. And I’ll probably need to work on my writing style too at some point.
I just hope I’ll ever finish it.

Pol_is_aware's avatar

I’ve written several shorts, mostly anecdotal. I’m a hell of a procrastinator. I simply haven’t had an idea for a character whom I want to spend upwards of 200 pages with, yet, and I don’t want to settle for a cliche’

Jack79's avatar

I have. Several. But never really finished any. I’m not patient enough to see them through to the end, and do the editing, which I think is perhaps the most important bit. I type fast, think fast, and I’m quite creative. I never get stuck due to lack of inspiration. But an actual, real novel, just like an album or a film, needs proper, organised work to be done.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Because I’m not a good writer. My creativity is irregular and my grammar horrendous.

MacBean's avatar

I’m good at characters but shit at plot. I’ll stick to short stories, thanks.

shrubbery's avatar

I’m too scared.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Jack79 sounds like you need an editor

I don’t have the patience for a long work.

knitfroggy's avatar

I didn’t know I was supposed to…

aprilsimnel's avatar

Because I’m writing my screenplay. Now, shoo!

EmpressPixie's avatar

I have. NaNoWriMo, baby!

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Like several other fine folks on here, I too am great at short stories, but suck at making a long drawn out novel from the ideas in my head. I am currently working on a selection of short stories about Evelyn, my many breasted goddess, but even with her awesome size and peculiar sense of humor, sometimes, the subject matter just doesn’t work. Then I have to fall back on ridiculing other religions, which is just in bad taste after awhile. A great novel should stand on its own.

Would writing a novella still count?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Pol_is_aware in your topics, you have baking soda disaster, I’d love to hear the story behind that.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Because writing is not my passion. That passion lies elsewhere.

casheroo's avatar

Not enough time, or the attention span.

hug_of_war's avatar

Not interested

wundayatta's avatar

Can’t stick to it. Never excited by my fictional ideas. Need help (questions to keep me moving forward). Label myself a failure. You had to ask, didn’t you? Well, that’s what came out.

kenmc's avatar

1) Lack of confidence in literary ideas

2) Lack of determination

cwilbur's avatar

Because there’s little point in writing a novel unless other people read it, and even if I write a fantastic novel it will have a slim chance of being published.

mattbrowne's avatar

It requires a lot of time, especially with a demanding day job. I needed 10 years to complete my novel (1997 – 2007). But it’s definitely worth the experience.

aidje's avatar

I’ve never really wanted to a write a novel. I don’t need an excuse.

Shuttle128's avatar

I’m with boots. I think it would be swell to write down my ideas in a form easily accessible to lots of people….I just don’t think I’d have the confidence to try….plus I procrastinate terribly, as well as stop things in the middle of what I’m doing to pursue other interests(when I flesh out an idea, that’s all that matters to me….finishing it and polishing it up are unnecessary extras to me).

Fyrius's avatar

@cwilbur What makes you think that? If it’s interesting enough, surely you’ll have a chance.

I recall some writer (forgot the name, place and time – curse you, source amnesia) giving advice to younger writers and mentioning that they should try to find at least one book for which they can say to themselves, “This is complete crap. I can do better than this. And this got published.”
Maybe you should try that too.

Anyway, if my eventual (hypothetical) novel fails to convince the publishers, I plan to just upload the lot of it to DeviantART or something. It would be more important to me anyway to have made something awesome, and how many people get to see it is a secondary concern.

MacBean's avatar

@EmpressPixie You rock. I do NaNo every year and have never been able to finish.

cwilbur's avatar

@Fyrius: I know several published authors and several editors. Your advice presupposes that quality is the reason books get published. Frankly, it’s not. The book has to be good enough, but it also has to come to the attention of an editor who likes it enough to finish reading it and thinks it will sell more copies than all the other books that s/he has liked enough to finish reading.

And then there’s the crapshoot of just getting an editor to notice it in the first place. Google for “slush pile photos”—each one of those manila envelopes has a book in it that someone thinks is good enough to submit to an author, and the editor or the editor’s assistant needs to evaluate each and every one of them. Nine-tenths are going to be sent back with a form letter saying “This does not meet our needs at this time, but please try again!”—not necessarily because that is true, but because that also covers “I’m swamped and don’t have time to read this” and “We have already found all the books we can afford to publish next year, and we don’t have time to spend second-guessing our decisions.”

I have already found several published books about which I can say “This is complete crap. I can do better than this.” That doesn’t make me any more realistic about the chances of a hypothetical novel actually making it to an editor’s desk, let alone getting considered for publication.

And I’m glad the work itself is motivation for you. It isn’t for me.

kenmc's avatar

If you’re looking to actually write a novel, I stumbled upon a really good guide/method for doing so…

How to write a novel in 100 days or less

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

not old enough
more of my life to happen
but i definitely will

EmpressPixie's avatar

@MacBean: Thanks! I’ve done NaNo three times. And finished once. But I’m so proud of that once.

Fyrius's avatar

@cwilbur: I’ll keep the depressing prospect you sketch in mind. You do seem to know your stuff a lot better than I do.
Though I still have the naive expectation that plain persistence and trying as many publishers as possible – around the world if need be – should enhance your chances to be a bit more promising.

cwilbur's avatar

Oh, sure, persistence will increase your chances. And you might get lucky and sell the book the first place you submit it. But that’s the exception to the rule rather than the rule.

DeanV's avatar

Because I haven’t even written my final term paper yet. I have higher priorities.

benjaminlevi's avatar

I don’t know anything and even if I did I am too lazy to write it.
I did write a 10page story about zombies one summer when I got bored, it was ok, but it had no direction

YARNLADY's avatar

As a matter of fact, I have written two novels, but they will never see the light of day, because I have bad grammar, bad plot, weak characters, run on sentences and they stink.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

Because I keep changing my mind about how I want to write it, unfotunately. But I’m still workin’ at it.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

I strugle with transitions and endings (in writing and in life, but that’s another story). I’ll have a brilliant plot line and I’ll write a bunch a pieces of it, but I can’t string it together.

discover's avatar

As of now, i am writing articles..maybe in future i would try writing one. But i would love to read some of the novels written by flutherers!

Pol_is_aware's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra Baking Soda Disaster was a novel I attempted to write several years ago. The story is about a lonely boy who performs wild experiments with household objects. He spends his time designing scientifically ignorant inventions; for example, he designs a teleport, which ismade by standing up a bathtub, cutting out the bottom, lining it with christmas lights, and splicing them into a microwave, which contains a seven-pound block of plutonium. He eventually teaches himself chemistry through trial and error and discovers an explosive concoction—the main indredient being baking soda.

I was going to have some kindof disaster arise, but instead of finishing it, I let it sit for a long time, and then lost the notebook it was in. It wasn’t great but I had fun with the idea, and I wish I would have just finished it before I became so critical of the idea, since it lacked a villain, among other things.

@Everyone who is trying: Keep it up! The only way to lose in writing is to not write.

bright_eyes00's avatar

I’ve already written one.

cyndyh's avatar

I keep rotating through a few things I have in the works. I work on one thing for a while and then it ends up on the back burner. Then I’ll get the bug again and work on something else for a while. Months will go by and then I’ll read one of these again and have a lot of ideas about it that make it work a little better and it gets a little further and on and on. I write down other ideas that don’t seem to fit in with these and sort of file them away for later. So there are a few big things in the works and lots and lots of little bits.

Basically, I think I’ll end up finishing about three of them close to the same time. It’ll take me a really long time to get things where I want them to be, though.

Ria777's avatar

I started one and my MacBook broke on me and I did not have a recent backup of it. I waited and then took the computer to a local Mac specialist to see about data recovery. I also had another broken MacBook which had later writings. they could recover data from either of the drives and I don’t know which one had the novel on it. a few months ago I took one of the drives to data recovery and they said that they could not recover anything from it and I have just felt afraid to submit the drives to anyone else.

(it gets slightly more complicated than that, but I will spare you the minor details…)

Speranza's avatar

I have! (Not published though!)

Gundark's avatar

Too lazy. I’ve had lots of ideas over the years, though I suspect many of them would turn out to be short stories, but what with reading and watching TV and playing games and taking care of kids and posting on web sites like Fluther, writing just doesn’t seem to float to the top of the to-do list. I guess you could say it’s not my passion. Isaac Asimov made a statement to the effect that not writing and dying were one and the same to him; not so for me. I can do it, and I’d like to do it, but I don’t have to do it.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

whenever i start writing something, i can’t help but think – why would anyone want to read this?

i guess i’m just not very confident in my skill/creativity.

Speranza's avatar

Forget about audience. The real question is, ‘Do you want to WRITE it?’

Fyrius's avatar

^ What he said.

Alegio618's avatar

I’ll get about 200 pages written and then decide it’s all crap and chuck it to begin another project. I just don’t want to read something mediocre—especially if I wrote it!

moorpheus's avatar

Procrastinator! Wrote for magazines and for newspapers, and . . . . I guess at this point, I’m just undisciplined. I give great credit to those who finish their books.

CMaz's avatar

The story is there, the skills to write it are not. And, I am lazy. ;-)

lifeflame's avatar

i need to figure out how to structure long pieces of writing.

Psycop's avatar

Best I could do was a fairytale…
not that good at writing novels.
I do have some scenario’s writen down. But I don’t intend to work them out

Hatsumiko's avatar

I love writing, and I definitely will after I finish school.

valdasta's avatar

@The Whole Bunch – Looks like we all (with the exception of those who have a finished work) lack persistance and discipline to keep going untill we finish. Who ever said writing was easy? It is work, like anything else.

I wrote a small memoir for a friend of mine…it was only 40 some odd pages, but it took me forever.

@EmpressPixie I am new to the 21st century, what is “NaNo”?

valdasta's avatar

@boots thanks for the link. For now, I am encouraged to start writing diligently every day!

EmpressPixie's avatar

@valdasta: NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. It involves writing at the speed of thought for a month (November). At the end you have a (poorly written, hastily put together, desperately in need of editing) novel. Then you put it away for a few months and don’t think about it. Then you get it out again and start editing.

I actually highly recommend the book No Plot? No Problem! to anyone thinking about doing NaNoWriMo or who just wants to write a novel. It’s a very quick, easy read and will get you very pumped. It’s also got some great tips for winning NaNo (winning just means finishing).

cyndyh's avatar

I will second that recommendation. It worth reading more than once, too. The ideas are good applied to other things as well. You get pumped and get past that over-planning thing and jump into the actual doing. Cheers!

aprilsimnel's avatar

It’s also NaSkeWriMo for all you types who want to try your hand at sketch comedy. Go forth and be funny! And may Groucho, Gilda, Graham and Marty smile down upon you!

And ScriptFrenzy is coming up in April!

valdasta's avatar

@EmpressPixie Thank you for the info. I will look into both.

Sonnerr's avatar

Because I got high… because I got high… sigh

Yetanotheruser's avatar

“I got stoned and I missed it!”

Ria777's avatar

update: I have stared work on another novel.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Procrastination and lack of a structure I can follow. I’ve said for a decade I would start writing in chapters and just keep going through the years. It’ll happen.

Ria777's avatar

you don’t have to write in chapter form, now or ever.

IlonaW's avatar

I like to plug harsh realism in my stories. If I am going to write a tragic, morbid story, then generally the main character that I have come to love, is going to die. But a lot of people want that happy ending! But the way I write it, trust me, they don’t deserve it. >.> But other than that, i’m concerned about the endings, so i never finish them. If the ending is terrible, then everything that lead up to the end is a waste of time.

Ron_C's avatar

I wrote a short sarcastic piece for the local paper that was well received but I found that I only had enough “juice” left for a short sequel. I am not sure that there is an entire novel in me.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

The real reason I haven’t written my novel is that my symphonic grand opus takes too much of my time.

Pachy's avatar

A timely question for me. It’s one of my New Year’s resolutions to write one this year.

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