Woman+Writing+22Starting a new novel is like going to a party where you don’t know anyone, no one wants to talk to you, and you’re not really sure what you’re doing there.

There are people–characters–who look at you and dare you to shake them up. You don’t really know them, so you approach hesitantly, if at all. Yet if your story is to be believeable, by the time the party is over, you’ll have met them, danced with them, learned all their secrets, and seen the mole she always keeps hidden for modesty’s sake.

I’m an introvert by nature–I don’t enjoy pushing, prodding, or entertaining strangers. But as a novelist, it’s my job to do it.

By the fourth or fifth draft, I’m pretty brazen at the party. But in this horribly painful first draft, when I’m easing my way into an unfamiliar setting, it’s uncomfortable for everyone.

Those first 50,000 words are torture.

I have done this dozens of times, but it doesn’t get easier. I feel that I’ve been tasked to spin gold from the air.





  1. Kathy Cassel

    I understand. I am just venturing into the world of teen fiction. My new characters have little depth so far.

  2. Crystal Thieringer

    Somehow it’s comforting to know it’s never easy at the beginning but it gets more delightful at the end. Good thing you’ve got that spun gold thing down!

  3. Marty

    I love your books. I have bought all of them. I recommended them to my daughter also. You are very funny. I love the way you write. You are also encouraging. Some editing books I have read lately are so negative and discouraging that I gave them away. Yes, I know that writing a book is hard so is raising 6 kids alone and putting myself through college. I know hard. Your suggestions and hints are positive and instructive without being discouraging. Keep up the marvelous work.


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