Living in the Novel

I’m fairly new at this whole writing thing, but one thing I’ve learned is this – –

 

In order to write compelling fiction, I have to live in the novel.

 

I know that sounds crazy, perhaps even a bit existential, but I’m not nuts or going off the deep end philosophically. Simply put, I write better when I can immerse myself in a story, and that means spending hours a day with the characters, thinking of their motivations, possible plot outcomes, how they would react, etc. – basically living in the world of the novel for a few months.

 

I’ve tried to write without doing this, and the results have been dismal. I tried to have a scheduled writing time and only think about the story and the characters during those designated hours, but I’ve learned that, for me, I can’t just turn the writing faucet on and off like that and produce a story that anyone would care to read. I mean, if I can just turn it on and turn it off, then that means that a future reader will be able to snap the book shut without a second thought, and I want readers to be addicted to my books until the very last page.

 

Perhaps if writers want readers to be immersed in their book, then writers must first immerse themselves in the world of the book.

 

So, if you see me driving down the road carrying on a conversation and there’s no one else in the car, or if you see me standing in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store staring off into space, then you’ll know that I’m talking to my fictional friends or mentally composing a scene. So that’s my excuse. I’m not crazy, I promise!