Novel-writing Challenges

I’m going to write a novel. Fulfill a life-long dream.

I first played with the storyline of EMBATTLED when I suffered from insomnia. I thought it would help me sleep. It didn’t. Instead, in the dark, I scribbled notes on yellow post-it pads—notes that I mostly couldn’t read in the morning.

The book soon took over my life. I’d make notes while I waited at red lights, in line at the grocery store, in the middle of dinner. I simply had to start writing. As wrote, revised, and rewrote, the story took on elements that I hadn’t originally intended. I wanted a love story, an adventure and I got it, but with the added dimension of sci-fi magic that allowed for the miraculous things the heroine could do.

My intent was to write one book, but the ending surprised me and forced me to write another. Three are done, the second will be published soon, and the fourth, (which I’m working on now), may or may not be the last.

I’m proud of what I’ve written—magical realism—and hope that readers will enjoy the unique world and characters that I have created.

Hard work, this novel writing business? You bet. Hours and hours on the computer? You bet. But three things turn out to be even harder.

First—choosing names for the characters that I was about to live with for the rest of my life. I resorted to devious means, finding names in articles in the newspaper, taking known names and spelling them backwards, rejecting names that had associations with people I knew, changing names more than once during rewrites until I finally felt comfortable with what I had.

Second—the title. How to find something that hadn’t been used a million times before, but still was a good representation for my novel. I’d jot down ideas as they came to me, then check them with Abebooks and Amazon only to discover nineteen books with that title. Eventually I stumbled upon titles I liked that hadn’t been used before.

The third challenge was writing the synopsis. How to condense 85,000-plus words to two or three pages and in that brief bit maintain the excitement and uniqueness of my story? I managed, eventually, and my book is now “out there” for your reading pleasure.

PS When you read it, please do post reviews on Amazon and Smashwords and Goodreads. Reviews are an author’s best friend. And, of course, tell all your friends about it.

PPS Don’t loan your copy to anyone. Tell your friends they have to buy their own. How else can a poor starving artist earn some money?

Available in print or Kindle on Amazon:

All other ereaders on Smashwords:


8 comments on “Novel-writing Challenges

  1. Darlene, I feel you pain about finding just the right title! And writing a synopsis… don’t even get me started on that! It almost feels like you write more words trying to get the essence of your story in two paragraphs than you did writing the thing! (Well, not quite, but you understand!) And nice to hear that you have more books on the go!

    • Hi Eileen, We do agonize over these things, don’t we. And they are hard to do. I’m excited about getting book 2 out there. Shouldn’t be too much longer.

  2. Congratulations on seeing the project through. I had a bad bout of insomnia years ago and spent many hours thinking about plots and characters. I had a title, which took FOREVER to come up with, but it has taken me so long to get to the second draft a best selling author has taken it. At least it tells me that it was a good title. I need a new one. Best of luck with the books.

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