Being Hungry

Being on the edge of the next novel or novella, there are degrees of exhilaration manifesting as both doubt and keenness, though the amounts may never be equal. A fraction of it is the expectations, knowing that this next piece of work has the potential to steer all future writing.

Whether they go to plan or not, each novel could be the one to carry the rest of them over the finish line. There is so much potential in that next blank page or notebook, and a vast breadth of words could exist on them.

You can fuel the weight of the character’s lives sitting on your heart, and glimpse flashes of the great events forcing their destiny. You have your characters in mind, and although they’re not yet written, their highs and lows are there as clearly as if they were already written.

It’s in this moment, before planning out the emotions and changes that the novel will have, that the true reach comes to you. It can feel like everything- the entire path from defeat to glory, and often back again. You have the job of putting all those images down in words that are capable of repeating the images in the imagination of another, so that they feel anguish and mirth and anticipation enough to keep reading, and perhaps even think about your characters after they’re done.

You can focus once you start writing, but the moments before, it’s the whole story you see – not just the one you write next, but the sequels and the lives of the characters outside each story, and the final outcome for the world itself.

The hunger is usually absent while you write, but having the full breadth of a world exist in your head (or some alternate dimension that your head alone can tap into) gives us an urge to divulge it. Don’t let the weight of it consume you, and focus on what the current story is. You already have what you need to go forward, and all that’s left is to take the next step and write.


2 thoughts on “Being Hungry

  1. It took me a really long time to learn outlining an idea when you get it helps with the weight of fictitious worlds. Beforehand I’d feel like my head was going to explode and I abandoned so many projects because of it.

    Great post Nick, perfectly captures what it’s like being in our heads before the story gets to paper.

    1. One thing I’ve found helpful with holding on to those feelings, even after you’ve outlined, is trying to associate different music with different events or ideas from the outline. I can’t remember the actual song I was listening to, but there was one I had going in the car on Sunday that sung to all of the epilogues for my NaNoWriMo project.

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