Michelle Wittle on Awakening Her Novel

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It has been almost a year since I last sat down with my first novel. It was the best and worst three days of my life. Meredith (the main character) was really annoying. I would be trying to sleep and she would come and kick me in the shin and tell me to get up and finish writing.

After the three days I had about 200 pages of the first draft of my novel. I was pretty impressed with myself because I normally would write short poems (badly I admit) or maybe a four-page short story. Before that point, I didn’t have the chops to maintain a story. Then Meredith came along and now I can’t stop myself from turning everything a write into a novella.

Meredith’s creation has a funny story. In a previous life I was a high school English teacher. I was teaching a creative writing class and I have always been a big fan of the cliché, “put your money where your mouth is”. If I was making them share their writing with me, it was only fair that I share mine as well. I started class with my writings and we would discuss the piece. Meredith’s story began as a three-page snapshot. She didn’t even have a name. Then, her story sat in my head until the summer. She got her name, a family, a background story and even a boyfriend.

I had my critics read it and they raved. I even tried to send the first ten pages out and tried to get an agent (okay, I sent it to one place and I used the first ten pages to try to get into grad school…neither of the avenues paned out). Then I just stopped. I didn’t loose interest in her, I just felt that she wasn’t really done yet and I wasn’t ready to face her again.

Her boyfriend’s mom needed to be reworked. The ending to the novel was a bit weak. Then there was Max. See, Max is a great character. He is so great that I felt that Meredith was starting to like him a bit too much. I am worried that if I open up the novel again, Meredith might try to go after Max and then I will be really mad because that was not what I wanted to happen.

So I ask you…do I drive back into the novel and start fixing it in the hopes that I can reel Meredith in? Do I go in and just let her do what she wants (which will probably happen anyhow, I mean she used to kick me…in the shin)? Or do I just let the novel remain dormant?

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Michelle Wittle on Awakening Her Novel

  1. I keep writing my first and second chapter again and again, and still haven’t gotten them right. So my problem is the opposite of yours.

    You ask about what you should do. What do you want to do?

    Henry

  2. I think I owe it to my novel to fix the things I don’t like about it. If I send something out that I don’t like and it does get published, then I will always hate the novel or piece because I will always see the stuff I wanted to fix.
    You bring up a good point, when is rewriting too much?

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