Dreams are dreams, and sometimes you just can't help it. Is it achievable? Realistic? Practical? Who knows? But the decision to chase your dream is up to you! Ever since I was a little girl, I've always loved reading and writing, so it came as no surprise to my family that I decided I wanted to become a fiction author. I still do, and while I'm not going to bank my entire future on being able to achieve that dream, I'm also not going to let it go without fighting for it.
That being said, like many other writers, I face some serious -- and maybe some not so serious -- struggles when it comes to doing original, novel-length work. Here are some challenges faced by authors and amateurs of fiction novels alike told in the words of the silly show, "Video Game High School":
1. Struggling to come up with good names
Sure, I've got a lot of favorite names, but that doesn't mean that any of those names are perfect for my lead! Their name has to have some depth of originality or meaning to it. It's got to be perfect. And don't even get me started on last names! Minor or major characters? Doesn't matter! I don't want everyone to have a completely generic last name. And it doesn't help when people suggest looking around the room and picking an object to be their last name. I've tried that, and, believe it or not, Rockingchair is not a convincing last name.
2. When one of your favorite characters at the beginning of your writing turns into the one you hate the most
Could you just stop sucking? You're morphing into the worst possible version of yourself.
3. When someone tells you your ideas are lame and doesn't try to help you figure out how you could improve them
Honestly, how you use the donuts...that's up to you. Personally, I think throwing them at the person who insulted your ideas is much more therapeutic.
4. Trying to write a sophisticated character dialogue when you've been writing for hours and words have lost all meaning
"Hey, can you come look at this? Does this make sense?" "Um, those aren't even words." "So...you're saying..?" "It doesn't make sense."
5. Not being able to decide what the main conflict of the story should be
So...everyone else has something...and the main character doesn't...so they want the thing... Genius!
6. Knowing things are going too smoothly and realizing you forgot to resolve a conflict from early on in the story
And... I've just ruined this entire concept.
7. Making your soft-spoken character try to stand up for themselves
So... basically, me failing to launch a successful comeback.
8. Finding out that your plot is remarkably similar to that of a new novel that just came out
Dodged that unintentional plagiarism!
9. Trying to dabble in surrealism
How do I make this all seem normal in the framework of my story's setting?
10. Trying to write a romantic scene without being too explicit
I mean, I guess I can leave what happens open to interpretation, but...I don't want to make any of this uncomfortable...besides...my mom is going to read this!
11. When someone points out a serious pitfall in your plot
"You know this can't work because of such and such, right?" "Crap." "Have fun fixing it!"
12. When sleep deprivation takes its toll
Cue reverting back to childhood maturity
13. Figuring out how to start the entire story
But...I have no idea, so my advice really doesn't help whatsoever.
14. When you realized that you started writing with present tense but halfway through began writing in past tense
How did you let this happen? What sounds better now?
15. Doubting your ability to figure out a way to get your characters out of tough spot but realizing they're totally capable
16. Finishing your day's writing killing off a major character
That's right. I just did that.
The next time you read something, take a moment to think about how challenging it could have been for the author to write that novel; appreciate it all just a little more.
Despite how frustrating fiction writing can be, I still love it and the challenges it provides. Let yourself pursue the things you dream about, and you will learn so much about your ability to persevere and problem solve!