I hate my novel.
There, I said it. I feel like I can relax a little bit for getting it off of my chest. There’s a reason I haven’t done another post for the whole month of November (despite things like being up for redundancy in my job and stuff, which also sucks big balls), and the reason is this: negative thoughts.
I am so close to finishing editing Haunt that I can almost taste it. I feel like I’ve poured so much of my time – so much of me as a writer, in fact – into this project, but I don’t feel the confidence that I should probably be feeling at this stage. I’ve come to the decision that there’s probably a lot that still needs to be added/changed/massively overhauled and the undertaking at this point just seems like so much work on top of what I’ve already done that I kind of cannot be bothered with it all.
I feel like the pacing is all wrong, the characters all blend into one, the dialogue is clunky, the story is full of plot holes, there are things missing where there shouldn’t be and things added in that don’t belong there. I feel like I’ve made a tragic misstep and I’m sort of like, “Woops! Well I can either continue battling on or just call it a day and accept that nobody is ever going to want to read this half-baked piece of trash.” I don’t know what I was thinking undertaking such an ambitious crime novel (because, let’s face it, it’s much more of a crime novel than the supernatural horror I intended it to be) when I have very little interest or experience with that genre. Who am I trying to please here?
Okay, this is going to sound a little bit terrible and I’m probably only writing it because I’m tired: I think I set out to write Haunt because I wanted to write something my Mum would like. That’s not the sole reason I wrote it, because I do have a fascination with serial killers and I am spiritualist and a strong believer in ghosts, but the reason I shelved my assassin novel idea, my android novel idea and my science-fantasy novel in favour of this one was because I wanted something I knew my Mum and my Dad would both feel intrigued to read.
I know, I know. You’re not supposed to write to please anybody other than yourself, but I can’t help it. Maybe I want to get that recognition off of my parents – for them to want to read something I’ve written and then to get to the end and say, “Wow. Good job, that was really enjoyable!”
Anyway… The most wonderful thing happened at about midnight tonight, but deserves a little bit of back story:
When I was… gosh, I don’t know – 12, possibly younger? I became obsessed with this little fantasy world I created in my head. I made a hero called Mac Stone, because I thought that was a good hero name, and then I made him a love interest called Anya (because I loved the animated film Anastasia and that’s what they called her in it). Anya had blonde hair with bright red highlights because that’s what Christina Aguilera had in the music video for 2000’s Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You), which means I was actually 13 when this whole thing started so I wasn’t far off.
Anyway, so I created Mac and Anya and then a host of other characters around them. A Queen called Isabelle and her daughter Kiblose, a soldier called Argon and his sister Sophie, an eccentric scientist called Cid and then an acrobatic court jester called Alexander. They were pitted against a villain called Grendle, who was a Dark Sorcerer (and Mac was a Sorcerer of Light, see where this is going?)
It wasn’t a great story, very basic and very simple, but I’ve stuck with it and adapted it – changing names, locations and plot elements over the years. About two years ago I attempted an updated rewrite of the original story, but even that fell flat. In other words: It was a bit shit.
Thus we return to the present. I randomly was inspired by the words “In the beginning…”, which were spoken in a TV show or movie or something, I can’t remember. The important thing is this: I started writing an updated rewrite of the updated rewrite, and guess what? It’s really good. I mean, it could easily fall apart in the future, but so far the Introduction and Chapter One are really good. 5,000 words in two hours that are definitely not worth chucking away.
This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on Haunt. In fact, it’s given me the energy and positivity to return to Haunt with a more uplifted outlook and hopefully get to the end of it. If it’s a bad novel, who cares? At the end of the day (sorry Stephen King, I know you hate that phrase) I wrote a novel from beginning to end. I found out facts, I scouted locations (digitally, of course) and researched character traits and good things to say and use. I put a lot of work in.
Is it a bad novel? Probably. Will I still be proud of it when it’s done? Most definitely. I can’t completely destroy that negativity, but I can definitely twist it around to my advantage and fuel a fire to keep going and always try to improve. I will be published one day.