August 17, 2015

Writer or Not

By Sarah Loudin Thomas

I recently came to the halfway point on my fourth novel (four and a half counting the novella). The book isn't contracted and may never see the light of day, but early on I learned it's much easier to sell something than nothing.

But I’ve found a funny thing happens around the midpoint of a book—something I suspect quite a few authors’ experience. This is the place where:

1.      I can't imagine how there could possibly be another half of a book to go. Oh my goodness--I've run out of all words except "the end!"

2.      I wonder how I got this far to begin with. I can't even remember what happened two chapters ago (which is why I write a chapter-by-chapter synopsis as I go--seriously--I don't remember).

3.      I begin to think there's no tension and no plot, it's just a Seinfeld episode where nothing happens.

4.      I’m pretty sure there's no moral center to the story. What did I think it was about? Forgiveness? Faith? Love? Then why didn't I write that stuff in?!?

5.      I have the niggling feeling there was a really cool idea for the second half that I didn't write down and so have forgotten completely.

This is the point at which I have to decide, for the umpteenth time, if I'm going to be a writer or not. Writers, I have concluded, are assailed by doubts but keep writing anyway. Non-writers are assailed by doubts and go eat some ice cream and watch a few episodes of Blue Bloods, marveling at the intricacies of the plots. (Okay, writers, do that too, but afterwards they keep
writing anyway.)

This is the advantage of having completed several manuscripts. I know this moment is coming. I expect it. And now I realize that if I just keep writing past it, I'll get a book in the end. One that someone might read. And perhaps, enjoy.

So, for as long as it takes after I reach the midpoint, I'll write. Because I'm a writer—really I am.
And anyway, I’m curious to know what happens next . . .
Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, released August 2014 through Bethany House. Book #2, Until the Harvest,released May 2015. Her novella, Appalachian Serenade is FREE today on Amazon. Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading. She can be found at @SarahAnneThomas

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