Thursday, January 26, 2012

Exciting News and Finishing Your Novel

As you may know, most authors aren't able to keep the working titles of their books. Publishers usually title them. Well, this week my publisher let me know the title of my new book that is coming out in June. The title is . . . Cold Justice! I love it! The title fits perfectly. As the release date nears, I'll tell you more about my new romantic suspense.

Now to get back to today's blog.

What is stopping you from finishing your novel?

Could it be writer's block?

No time?

Or could it be something else, something you haven't identified nor do you want to? Could it be that you don't want to finish?

Don't look so astonished. I've had it happen to me. But before we delve into this weighty subject let's look at the excuses of writer's block and no time.

Writer's block . . .
The dictionary says writer's block is a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece. Wow. That tugs on the I-don't-want-to-finish thread, doesn't it.? Hang on to that thought. We're going to talk about it, but not now.

Most people think they have writer's block when what has really happened is they have written themselves into a corner, and they don't know what do to next. A good way to avoid this pitfall is to know how your story needs to end. And a good way to do that is to write an outline.

This outline can be as detailed as you need it to be to keep you on course. Some people write a synopsis of their story and that's enough to keep them on track. Is a synopsis or an outline a cure? No. I had outlined one book, and as I started writing, I came across some wonderful information about a secondary character that was an actual person in history. It was fascinating, and I just knew my readers would want to know about this character. But pretty soon I had written my story into a corner. That's when I realized the secondary character had hijacked my novel. I had to delete several chapters. Once I did that and stayed close to my main character and the outline, all was well.

Another reason you may have writer's block is you need to do more research. Research can open your mind to more possibilities for your character. So if you think you're suffering from writers block . . .
  1. write an outline,  
  2. check to see if a secondary character has hijacked your story, 
  3. or roll up your sleeves and do more research.

No time . . .
There are many ways to write around a busy schedule. I have a good friend who is writing a terrific story. She has four little children and is expecting her fifth. She's on the go every day, but she loves to write and has her laptop with her most of the time, writing whenever she can. I also have a friend who works a full-time job, has a family, and also does charity work, but late at night she sneaks off to her computer and writes her stories. Now, I know there is a time and season for everything and maybe the time isn't right for you to work on a novel, but for the most part if you really want to you can find the time to write. The "no-time" excuse is just that . . . an excuse. If you're serious about your writing you'll make the time.

You don't want to finish . . .
So you've been working on this story for say . . . five, ten, twenty years. You keep revising, you even start over several times but you can't seem to close the deal. Your problem could be that you're a perfectionist, you're afraid, or you don't want to say good-bye to the story and characters you've grown to love. In short, you don't want to finish. The thing you need to remember is . . . you can't sell, you can't progress, you can't grow as a writer until you realize that no book is perfect, everyone is scared, and you can write another story peopled with characters that you love. You can't really cure this ailment until you make up your mind to do it. Face the problem and then get on with it.

With each book you write, you learn. I had written over eight novels before I sold my first. And guess what? I have sold four other books and my publisher is interested in almost all of the novels I've written. I have to go back and fix those first ones, but I'm very hopeful that most of my stories will find their way to book stores. I know other authors who have had the same experience. Once they sold they were able to sale their other stories. So, keep writing, keep working, and don't give up because some day you'll be able to sell your books. 

Be diligent and finish that novel. You deserve to grow, to learn, and to succeed.

I know that I've posted other blogs about this subject, but I know many writers who struggle with this issue. I find it very sad. I couldn't possibly list all the reasons why people can't seem to finish their novels. Please share reasons you know that stop writers from finishing a novel. If we work together we might help other writers leap over this hurdle.



  1. Kathi,
    Your post couldn't have been more needed for me. I submitted my first book to the specialized houses who publish my genre and have been denied by both. (The second one gave me some awesome feedback and I may be able to revise and resubmit.)
    I must admit, the rejection caused me to pause and rethink my dedication to writing. If I wasn't going to be good enough to publish, what was the point? After a long shower, painting my toenails and getting my hair trimmed I decided writing was a part of me I couldn't deny. The idea of getting up in the morning and NOT writing was as foreign a concept as not eating chocolate.
    It's wonderful to know other writers (successful writers like you) also had set backs. Thanks for sharing your journey because it provides hope and encourages the rest of us to keep plugging away.

  2. For me, "writer's block" is usually because I don't know how to start or I don't know how to continue. Oooor it's because I just don't feel like writing even though I know I must! The only cure I know of is to just sit down and write. Maybe grab a friend and go to a coffee shop and write silently for ten minutes, share what you've written, and write some more. That would be a fun way to break through a writing block.

    Congratulations on your upcoming novel release, Kathi! I'll be keeping an eye out for the cover and release date so I can add it to my Blog Buddy Must-Reads page. :)

  3. Christina,
    Oh I'm so glad I could help you. I know exactly how you feel. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't write. And woe be unto anyone who gets in the way of a writer and her chocolate. ;)

    Hang in there. Your time is coming.

  4. Laura,
    You bring up a very good point. Many writers struggle with knowing where to start a novel. You've made some excellent suggestions. I've never suffered from that malady. I have the problem of too many ideas and not enough time to devote to them.

    That's so kind of you to offer to post my cover and release date on your Blog Buddy Must-Reads. I'll be sure to let you know. The book goes to press in April, so a cover should be coming soon. :)

  5. Not writing a novel. At least not this year. :) But I think that I am letting some indecision slow me down in my other endeavors. I guess I ought to just make up my mind and get busy.

  6. Dang it, you're right! I deserve to succeed! Thanks for the push. :)

  7. Victoria,
    You write beautiful songs that are amazing. In a way, you're writing stories. I wish you great success in your endeavors. :)

  8. Michelle,
    You DO deserve success. Keep on pushing!!!



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