Dear Novel,

Day 186 of 365:

{An open letter to my novel}

So I came across an article the other day as I was perusing Pinterest (who doesn’t love Pinterest?), about writing an open to letter to your novel.  At first I was like – “What?  That’s silly!” But then I read through the author’s philosophy behind it and it makes sense to me now.

The article, talks about what a frustrating relationship a writer must endure with his/her story.  About how tormenting it can be.  How being able to voice your feelings about this situation you live in can help you reach an understanding and come to terms with your struggle.  Of how writing your feelings to people we are in relationships with is a therapeutic process, so the same must apply to our novels, right?

And besides, we’re writers – this is what we do.  We write.  Feelings, thoughts, emotions, opinions – we rock at writing what swirls around in our heads.

I blog often about my personal struggles with my writing, specifically, the novel I am currently working on.  And I LOVE to write a good old-fashioned heartfelt letter (ask The Hubby).

So here goes:

Dear Novel,

I just wanted to let you know that you drive me absolutely nuts.  I mean, I love you, but you seriously have me doubting myself sometimes.  I wonder if I am slowly going crazy.

We’ve been together for what, 6 years now?  I don’t know about you, but this is perhaps one of the longest relationships I have ever had with anyone or anything in my life.  It’s certainly one of the most intense.

I like to think that I know you inside and out.  Forwards and backwards.  That I understand your curves and angles.  That I can anticipate every inch of your direction.  Logically, you shouldn’t be able to surprise and perplex me…and yet, you do.   20160704_200352

Your constant twists and unexpected turns are dealt like a cruel game of cards that I do not know the rules to, or they keep changing without my knowledge.  I can’t figure out which one it is.

You play hide and seek with me.  You tease and taunt.  You are elusive, yet you occupy every corner of my brain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You are a puzzle I cannot find all the pieces to.

Do you recall that day, all those years ago, when the map was drawn, the original draft, crude and ambitious, typed up in a giddy fog of ambition?  I do.  But I do not recall agreeing to this constant battle of give and take.   To the parade of characters that are constantly being dropped into my lap, leaping up and slapping me across the face.  Still other characters, characters I have become attached to, suddenly dying with nothing more than a sideways glance and a dismissive “it’s for the good of the story line.”  Like it’s as easy as taking your next breath.  Have you ever once stopped to consider my feelings as you snuff out these lives?

You keep me awake at night. Did you know that?  Never ending thoughts cascading through my mind, filling me up with words on blank pages like water filling a tub.  What-if’s, How-about’s, and Why-not’s churning around in my head on a never-ending spin cycle.  dear novel

And I know, my dear Novel, that there are times when I ignore you.  That I go silent.  Shut-down.  Go dark.  And I am sorry, truly, for these lapses in my attention to you.  I know I withdraw, and I know it seem like I wish you didn’t exist.  I acknowledge that this is not fair, nor is it productive.  It’s just that…sometimes I need to know that I can exist beyond your realm.

You have to understand that for a long time, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t talented enough to tell your story.  That you were too big for me.  It took me even longer to realize that I can keep up with you.  That I do have what it takes.  But you have to understand that I am trying, really, REALLY hard to maintain a sense of control, of sensibility, in my relationship with you.  I want you to know that I am, despite everything you put me through, I am committed to telling this story the way it needs to be told.  But you also have to be patient with me, Novel.  Just as I must be patient with you.

It was with a flash and a bang that you came to me.  Do you remember that day?  It was like waking up and seeing the sun for the first time.  Like the sky falling – terrifying, yet unbelievably intriguing.  Do you remember all the great newness and excitement of those first few pages?  I do.  And sometimes I want to go back to that.  To live it over and over and over.  But I guess we’re well passed that point now aren’t we?

I want you to know, Novel, that this is not misplaced optimism.

It’s not a stale and suffocating fade to silence. I will not walk away from you.  True, I may not always know where are leading me, but I am not putting my brakes on.  As long as you have words that need to be said, I will be your conduit.

But you have to stop throwing me for a loop with every ending and beginning of each page. And cut me some slack every once in a while, would you?

You live within me.  And I absolutely live within you.  Indelibly connected in a sealed fate, you and I.  We just have to learn to match strides as we march towards an inevitable end.

I just want to thank you.

For making me surprise myself.

For making me challenge myself.

For making me believe in myself.

For making me a writer.

phew!… that feels good….

Letter writing – to your novel or whoever, whatever, you need to express an opinion to……do it.

For the article I was inspired to write this post by, here is the link.

Namaste and Happy Independence Day to all of my American readers, friends and family!


-Janice 🙂



On Killing My Darlings….

Day 160 of 365:

At the moment, as far as I am concerned, truer words have never been spoken when it comes to writing:

kill your darlings_sk

I have just spent the past five days killing one of my Darlings.  Over and over and over again.

No, I haven’t taken to murder, not in the real world anyway….

I think I am becoming far too emotionally attached to my characters – is it normal to feel so much remorse over the writing of their death that it sends you plunging into despair?

I get it that writers have to write their stories as they need to be told.  I understand fully that it’s not all rainbows and lollipops, love and happy endings.

It’s just that, when I come to the realization that certain people I’ve created have a time bomb attached to them, that their place in the world I have conceived will draw to an abrupt, poignant end, it tears me up a little.  Especially when they don’t really deserve to die, not by any fault of their own, other than the fact that their death helps greater good (the plot) move along and provides motivation for the other characters to unfold and do what ever it is they need to do.

It’s tough, all of these emotional trappings, and I really feel like I am getting stuck.  I’m learning though, with each twist and turn as I create them, that I can do this.  That the pieces of the puzzle that is this story are falling neatly into place, and a clear picture of my vision is starting to take shape…. and you know what?  It makes sense.  

So I am sorry, my Darlings, that some of you will die.  But thank you, for what it’s worth.  And know that you have given me more than even I thought possible.




-Janice 🙂


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