Nerdly Musings – 3: Time to write a novel?

I’ve wanted to write since university. But I’ve never known what to write about. A phrase that gets bandied round to aspiring writers is ‘write what you know’, hence why I started the blog two months ago reviewing video games. Video games to me are vessels that can carry truly amazing stories, and in reviewing them I’ve tried to adopt my own narrative-style whilst analyzing my response to each game’s story. I love writing game reviews, so I’m going to carry on doing them. But I also want to get my name out there as a weaver of tales in my own right. About a year ago I wrote a prologue for a book idea that never fully took shape. I had a basic premise but there was no structure, no plan, and the overall plot wasn’t even fully formed. I just had a momentary itch, and needed to write something. I’m quite proud of the prologue though, and maybe I’ll upload it at some point in the future when I revisit that idea. In the meantime however…I have a new idea.

Whilst still carrying on with the game reviews and the odd Nerdly Musing, I’m going to work on a new project: writing a full blown novel. I have a good premise and a strong story, stronger than any idea I’ve had to date. Full structure isn’t there yet but it’s got a good start. I’m not going to say it’ll be done in a few months. It won’t. Its going to take a while. I’m juggling more responsibility at work and a family, so who knows if and when a final version will see daylight. But I’m adamant to see something literary through to the end for once. It starts here.

I may upload the prologue/first chapter soon as a Nerdly Musing, but I won’t post each chapter as it’s written, that might put a little too much pressure on things. Hopefully the first chapter should a provide a good outline of the story and a decent litmus test of interest. In terms of updates it might just be the odd tweet saying ‘Novel going well!’ or ‘I think I’m about ten per cent there’, but we’ll see how we go. So yeah, that’s the plan. Into the realm of late nights and scotch I venture!

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6 thoughts on “Nerdly Musings – 3: Time to write a novel?

  1. Excellent! I too have had the itch to write a novel a time or two. Between career, wife, kids, and games; I hardly have time to post a new blog topic though!

    What’s the genre that you’d like to explore?

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  2. I’ve been trying to write a book for years. The best I’ve managed is a few short stories, though I can understand the desire to write one.

    If you’re wanting a warm-up before you start, it’s really fun to write the ending of a short story, and work backward from there. It’s an interesting way to write. I think it should be the only way that people should write, in a way. Either way, if you’re not used to writing fiction, I’d recommend bashing out a few short stories, and maybe even posting them on here. I’d love to give them a read.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with diving straight into writing a book, either, but – I always like to get my toes wet before throwing my body in.

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    1. I’ve never heard of that way of writing! Trying to get my head round how that would work…

      To be honest, I’m not really into short stories. I’ve got nothing against them, and I do enjoy reading the odd one, but I’m all about character development, which is hard to do in fifty pages or so. If this novel stalls out a bit I might dabble in a short tale or two, just for inspiration. It’s all a bit of an experiment at the end of the day, we’ll see how it goes!

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      1. That style of writing is called Reverse Chronology – though that’s more when you literally write the ending at the beginning, and work all the way back to the actual beginning by the ending. Yeah, confusing.

        The actual technique of writing the ending and leaving it at the actual ending of the book is something that a great deal of my favourite authors do.

        Ah, it’s not that hard to do character development in about ten, really. It depends on where you start the story. That’s an interesting challenge all by itself, considering that you don’t think that much can be done in fifty. I think that’s ample time for character development, personally. Our own characters are developed by nearly every change in our life, whether they’re barely significant or pivotal.

        Constraining yourself within the limits of a short story is great for that reason, because you limit yourself to a certain number of words, and try to write the kind of thing that you want to write, regardless of the limitation that you’ve put on yourself. It can mean that the tens of thousands of words in your actual novel will have more purpose and agency, since you know how to do things tightly.

        Not that the above is personal feedback toward yourself, or anything. Just observations from developing my own fiction.

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      2. Might have to try it!

        You raise a really good point about constraining yourself to a word limit; I suppose that was the original beauty of twitter, trying to be creative with a 140-character limit. A short story or two might be really good practice, I might write a couple alongside the novel, time allowing. You’ve given me a lot to think about =)

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