Things I Hate About My Novel


I was flipping through posts tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’ (as I do at least once a day) yesterday and saw a post where somebody wrote all the things they hated about their novel up to this point. (UPDATE: THIS is the post that I read. Thank you to voeko for reading my version and commenting so I could give credit where it is due!) And considering the wall I’ve appeared to hit as of the last couple of days, I think venting out my writing frustrations will do me well.

So here’s my list of things that I hate about my novel (so far):

  1. What the hell do my characters look like? One of my weaknesses in first drafts is my lack of descriptions. Of everything. Characters, setting, EVERYTHING. It’s not so hard to add in in editing, but in the meantime, I feel like I can’t try to put in much of it now either. Because I don’t know what anyone looks like. 
  2. I’ve woven this narrative that has taken the turn I didn’t want it to. My MC is going to get caught. And soon, probably before I hit 40k. But I’ll tell ya. I sure don’t want to have to do all this research on criminal trials. Sure I watch a lot of TV where this happens (cough SVU) but that doesn’t mean I can write it correctly! I’m sitting here pondering how I can get around writing anything from the trial without it seeming like a cop out, when I should be writing the scene I have going on right now.
  3. There are waaaay too many characters. I did good at keeping a running list when I first started of character’s names. That way I wouldn’t accidentally rename them a thousand words later. But then the list kept growing and growing. There’s MC, her roommate, hallmates, party people, paramedics, and now there’s detectives involved? And let me reiterate that I don’t know what they look like. It’s hard for me to sit and imagine scenes when I can’t picture my characters, let alone remember who all of them are.
  4. My MC is pretty snarky and sarcastic, and considering this novel is written in first person POV, that should be pretty evident through the entire thing. But there are so many instances where that isn’t true. Where I’m too focused on dialogue, dialogue, dialogue and not what’s going through her mind (which is just as important). She’s telling us a story from her point of view. She’s bound to have an internal opinion of just about everything. And I realize there are places where that shouldn’t be invoked, and that’s fine! But there are so many places it should be, but isn’t.
  5. Last but not least: WHY IS THERE SO MUCH DIALOGUE. Most of my characterization is done through dialogue (obviously because there’s no descriptions otherwise HAHA :/ ). But in my head I start envisioning this conversation, and because my mind runs faster than my fingers, I just have to get the conversation down. But who needs the action going on around it? Who needs scene descriptions, or reactions, or casual hair flipping and head scratching? Obviously no one reading this draft of my novel, that’s for sure. I really need another straight up action scene. But how do I do that without throwing my story off the deep end? Because I mean I’ve written a novel where I needed words so there was an explosion and one character almost died. It was in your face ACTION and it was AWESOME. But I don’t have room in this novel for that. I guess if I get desperate for the word count though…

Okay. I think I have vented enough for the day. Time to get writing so I keep up my everyday streak of not missing the word count.

What’s something you hate about your novel? Share below! And KEEP WRITING.

18 thoughts on “Things I Hate About My Novel

  1. This post made me laugh so much. I can relate in SO many ways. Overall I am pleased with my story, but these are the two things that definitely need to be addressed in December:
    – My male lead needs to STOP BEING SO GOOD AND AWESOME I need to get those flaws in the spotlight stat.
    – Remember that the setting is Earth’s first colony in the 22nd century. The random insertion of sci fi gadgetry runs the gamut from iPad-like tablets to holographic interfaces. FIGURE OUT THE TECH

    Hope the writing is going well!

  2. Everything feels so one dimensional right now it’s so frustrating! My good characters seem too good, the bad characters seem too bad, and my setting feels flat, ugh, I need coffee, stat!

  3. Yes! In my case my main characters are members of an imagined royal family and it’s resulted in me having to do hours of research on royalty, terms of address for kings and queens, monarchies and hierarchies, etc. and the only use for it so far in my story has been that I now know when to say “Your Highness” versus “Your Majesty.” But that is the beauty of nano. So many of us hit that “I hate my novel” stage.

  4. Thank you for your gift of schadenfreude. 😉

    I’m right there with you on most of these. And then just the general “This was awesome when I wrote it. How does it suck so bad now?”

  5. I hate that I’m going to have to go back and do a find and replace on nearly EVERY proper noun. Character names and places all have place holder nouns until I can come up with what I really want to name things.

  6. Love your honesty and while I can’t say I hate my novel there are things I do have to mull over or think on and be like yes I know this is fiction but really? Also my writing program ate my chapter 1 after I had 4 chapters in and I couldn’t recover it. I had to completely recraft it and I don’t think it’s as good as what I had originally. So
    Yeah I hate that. I was kicking myself for not backing up even on a damn cloud- didn’t happen again tho. I also don’t like how angry I was at having to recraft it. The words are coming a little harder now for me too I general (I free write) and I haven’t fully decided what I’m doing with this thing yet even at close to 30k in. Ah well I’ll just solider on I guess.

  7. I’m happy that my whiny blog post inspired you! 😉
    And I’m totally with you on all of these. One reason might be that I’m allergic to long descriptions of characters and settings in my own reading, but I realize that’s no good excuse to rob my readers of them entirely. One small comfort might be that there are probably a lot of us who’ll be doing mountains of post-editing in December 😀
    Good luck and keep it up!

  8. I hate that I don’t feel like my world is defined enough to write my story in.
    It’s a constant fear that I will write something into it that works for book but for any outside use of my world it becomes illogical.

  9. i hate that i keep putting off plot in favor of…other stuff. i’m not even sure what. inner musings, i guess – thanks for making me think about this, great post.

  10. I hate that my villain isn’t as evil as I’d like her to be, especially now that another bigger badder villain has showed up uninvited!

    As far as your character list goes, maybe keeping their names (with 1-2 word personality descriptions so you don’t forget) within different sections could help? It’s hard to remember all that information when we’re writing so fast though, so don’t be too hard on yourself! At this writing pace, I always have to skim the previous chapter before I start writing.

  11. I love this idea. I need some inspiration and the best is pointing out what you need so that it can be fixed. I love my blog helps me go back when I am not motivated and on my edits oh joy this will help! Awesome thanks! Too much dialog though that’s not a bad thing sometimes.

  12. I’m right there with you on #5. I guess it’s easier for me to create the dialog to tell the story than to find the creative ways I should be using to show what’s happening. I’ll just have to figure out how to add descriptions of what the characters are doing so it doesn’t sound like they are sitting in a row of chairs talking to the “audience.”

  13. Pingback: 2015 Year in Review | Musings of Danielle

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