Confession: I have given-up more times than I’ve succeeded in completing a novel. For example, I have a file on my laptop titled “ABANDONED STORIES” and throughout my 11 years of writing, this file filled up with 20+ documents. Each 5-10 chapters long.
Then I have a file of completed manuscripts. A total of 3 novels completed… (excluding completed fanfictions). But these 3 manuscripts are unpublishable.
Unlike some other writers who perhaps complete and publish the first book they’ve ever written, it took me MANY TRIES before I finally fell in love with the story about a 19th century ‘fallen woman’ (here’s the excerpt of the older version). It’s a story I completed writing in 1 year and began revising for the next 5 years.
However, I’ve tried writing new novels during those 6 years and FAILED EACH TIME to complete it. SO. I totally know how it feels to write while doubting your ability to even complete a novel.
I therefore decided to share some of the practical tips that kept me from giving up on TRC and my other completed works (other than being in love with the plot and characters). Hopefully what inspires me might inspire others as well!
Things that Motivate Me:
- I never allow myself to write the ending of the manuscript before I’ve written the rest of the story. BUT I always make sure that when I begin writing a novel, I know how the last chapter will end. The desire to reach that ending compels me like CRAZY….because I imagine that it’ll be the BEST of all chapters.
The Final Chapter of Swan Lake
- Watching BBC period dramas inspire me big-time (My motto: If I can’t take part in the creation of a BBC period drama…why…I’ll just write one!)
North & South clip
- I write, imagining the day when I can type THE END and print out the entire manuscript. So, yes, during my difficult writing days the desire to press the ‘PRINT’ button compels me.
Sending this baby off to New York per an agent’s request. Long story short: It got rejected *sniffles*
- I write, anticipating the day when I can begin REVISING my completed-manuscript at a coffee shop.
- Looking at pretty book covers also inspires me to write, imagining that one day my manuscript will have a cover of its own.
- As a history graduate, I love researching about the past, and details about the past always inspires me to write.
What inspires you to keep writing? What keeps you from giving up?
Music I’m writing to:
2 thoughts on “Motivations to Complete Writing a Novel”
Personally speaking, I don’t think that abadoned projects are a bad thing. After all, if a story doesn’t interest the writer enough to complete it, then it probably won’t be interesting to the readers.
But sometimes, I abandon projects when I run out of ideas that I think are actually worth putting in the novel. (This one totally happened with Salem, my paranormal young adult novel. But I will finish this novel someday…)
Biggest motivator when it comes to writing for me is always thinking of new and, sometimes, insane things for my characters to do. Staying one step ahead of and hoefully surprising my readers with a finished product totally keeps me motivated to write.
I agree, if it doesn’t interest the writer, it definitely will not interest many other readers. I read somewhere that the more readers can relate to the writer’s fantasy/vision, the more popular a work will be… or something along those lines.
I think part of the reason why I don’t delete my abandoned works – there’s redeemable qualities in even these manuscripts that can be ‘recycled’ again. There was never a time when I returned to working on something I put on hold, because, by then, I’ve essentially forgotten how the story goes. It’s such a bother to go through old notes again. So, what happened to me was that I just ended up abandoning it again and using certain ideas from the abandoned work in my new work. Yes.. I have little patience for works on hold.
That’s a pretty interesting motivator, btw. Thinking of new and insane things for characters. Your work sounds quite exciting!
For me… come to think of it… I think another one of my motivators is to make readers cry. Mwuaahaha.