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Top 10 (Normal) Struggles When Writing A Novel


1) Title dilemmas

Like every author on the planet, I’ve spent endless hours mulling over title options for my work. One strives, of course, to be both memorable and honestly descriptive of the content. But then, by and large, a great title is an art form unto itself and a great title does not necessarily signify a great book. MORE: More About Titles

2) Deleeeeeeeete!!!!

This may seem insane but I normally know whether or not I am on to something good only after being 100 pages into a story. I’m willing to bet some you go much farther?? MORE: WHY This Story? … Or 8 Questions They’re **Really** Asking

3) Other people don’t understand

I’m usually very regimented about my writing schedule and typically wake up at about 5Am and start writing until 10 AM. There have been times, however, where I’ve spent an entire day in my study working on a novel. Little do these friends know the kind of dynamic journey writers go on in their work. MORE: Help – My Partner Won’t Let Me Write!

4) Choosing between Creativity & Money

We don’t live by money alone. For those who aspire to the high art of literary writing, similarly to painters, composers, musicians, and others who prize, above all, discovering insight into the human condition, we will always put creation over the clink of coinage (or at least find a clever way to bridge the gap). MOREWriters, Make A Choice   

5) More research than writing (and that’s okay!)

Actually, this isn’t really a struggle but I’m leaving it in. When I was working on TARGET CHURCHILL, I spent months reading memoirs by Winston Churchill among other historical documents. It was all grist for the novelist’s mill. My research led to new characters and sub-plots. It was all so rich and intriguing that I could have spent a lifetime on the topic. MORE5 Inspirational Ways to Research Your Novel

Warren's novel WAR OF THE ROSES was adapted into a movie starring Michael Douglas & Kathleen Turner
Warren’s novel WAR OF THE ROSES was adapted into a movie starring Michael Douglas & Kathleen Turner

6) How does it all end??

Honestly, if I ever knew the ending of a novel in advance, I wouldn’t write it. The way in which I write is to let my characters come alive in my head and interact with each other, create conflict with each other, and work out their own destinies. I know this sounds out there but writers will know what I’m talking about. MORE: 5 Steps To Writing A Novel

7) Sleepless Nights

There are times when you can’t sleep at night because you’re constantly thinking about what the next page in your story will beSound familiar? There’s nothing wrong with a smidgen of insomnia for the sake of your writing. It’s a kind of rites of passage for the dedicated novelist. I am always writing a story in my head, keeping a log of ideas that pop up. I find that the best thing to do is keep a notepad or journal near you so you can jot thoughts down, otherwise you’ll just end up more frustrated that you can’t get it out of your head and onto paper. MORE: Top 10 Quotes On First Drafts 

8) Editors start hacking up your baby

One of the reasons I went independent was because I could not stand editors who took it upon themselves to essentially bulldoze entire sections of my work that I’d spent a lot of painstaking time on. I am always weary of this. I would rather make my own mistakes than have someone else make them for me. MORE: Creative Ways To Edit Outside The Box

9) You’re CONSTANTLY rewriting!

Well, I firmly believe that the key to good writing is rewriting. When I write a novel I go back to it every single day and I try to produce at least 5 pages. I’ll write 5 pages one day then go back the next day, start from the beginning and rewrite. I’ve managed 39+ novels so evidently this isn’t such a bad process. MORE: 12 Authors On Rewriting 

10) Getting lost in your characters

You know all too well what it’s like to get lost in your characters, in fact, sometimes your characters get out of line and start going off on tangents! If this doesn’t happen to you at some point then something must be wrong. Naturally, I become heavily invested in the characters I create, what they think, how they act, what they wish for, their passions, their emotional lives, their angst, their sexuality, their inner hungers and desires. They find internal expression in my third person style of writing and It becomes necessary to curb my imagination at times. You’re probably wondering what those tangents sound like (that’s for another blog!). MORE: How NOT To Write A Novel: 5 Mistakes Writers Make 

BIO: Warren Adler is the author of 39 novels. Currently in development for Adler is the Broadway production of The War of the Roses as well as the Hollywood sequel, The War of the Roses: the Children. Other projects include Capitol Crimes, a television series based on Warren Adler’s Fiona Fitzgerald Mysteries, as well as a feature film based on Warren Adler and James Humes’ WWII thriller, Target Churchill. Adler’s newest novel, Torture Man is slated to be released in Fall 2015. Visit his website, HERE.

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