When Do You Hit Your Stride?

kurt vonnegut

Writing a novel like writing anything is hard work.  It takes determination, skill and careful planning to get a novel off the ground.  It is definitely not like writing a short story or a poem because of the sheer amount of words necessary, the characterization, the subplots and all of the other bells and whistles that make a novel a worthwhile read.

Even though I thoroughly plan out a novel before I ever write one, I still find myself bogging down in the middle somewhere, and wonder if my reader might do the same thing and stop reading it.  This is probably one of my biggest fears as a writer.  If I’m  bogging down in the telling of the tale, then surely the reader is feeling the same way.

I have found, however, that I usually hit my stride when I get about 2/3 of the rough draft written.  It is when the climaxes of the novel begin to peak, when the characters reach impasses, or when the villain seems to be the most frightening.

I have been told that anything in the novel that does not move the story along should be cut from the narrative, but there is some internal conflict in my current WIP that simply cannot be removed.  It does drive the story along, but it might not be the most exciting thing to read.  I think that my characters have very difficult and complex internal conflicts, but I worry that my reader might not think so.

I suppose all of this is simple venting, but I think it would help me if some of you were to voice exactly where you hit your stride in the novels you write.  Perhaps if I hear from some of you, then I will be encouraged to soldier on.  I will (of course) finish the novel, anyway.  I suppose the question I would ask is: Have any of you ever been hyper-excited about writing an idea out into a novel but when you get halfway finished with the rough draft completely lose interest or motivation to finish it?  Secondly: Where do you hit your stride when writing the RD?

Thank you.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

4 thoughts on “When Do You Hit Your Stride?

  1. I have hit a -working -a-bazillion-hours-in-the-spring-then-moved-to-a-new-state-lull in my writing. Have stalled on revisions on book two and am floundering on word production on book three. I say if you are plugging along at all you are in better shape than many of us.
    Its not a lack of excitement that has me boggled, it is financial and work stress. I think about my plot and characters many times each day, just need to get my butt out of my great blue funk and start writing again.

  2. Yes, I hear you. The easy part is the excitement of the new story, the potential, the attraction etc. It is a bit like meeting a new potential partner that you really like… You’re all loved up! And then you hit the middle, or the first quarter towards the first plot point and things are getting a bit… well, not so exciting. You start to look around, thinking maybe there is something better waiting, maybe you should leave it for a while. Maybe have a break… But, if the potential is still there, you push a little bit further and in the end, it was probably worth it.
    Personally, when I get here I need to ‘ice the project’ for a while, put it down. Work on another idea. And soon, the story starts screaming out to me again, the characters are impatient to get going and I feel that initial excitement coming back.
    You got this.

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