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Riana's Blog: Writing a Novel

By RianaBlogger 08 Feb 2017

New Years Resolution: Finish my novel

There, I said it.
Yes, my novel. My novel.

Does that sound insane to you too or just to me?

I initially applied to this Creative Writing Master’s Program to finish the novel that I had been working on for about four years. But now the goal didn’t seem so far away anymore.

When I had gotten here, I had a singular word document that had contained any scrap I had ever written about these characters. Now, I had eighteen-word documents (and one excel spreadsheet) that broken that unmanageable conglomerate into seventeen neat little chapters.

Last semester, I brought bits into workshop. I would sit silently as my peers discussed characters that had been living inside my head for years and then I would get to ask them questions. The first time, I had no idea what to ask besides the very obvious “do you like it?!” And quite frankly, it isn’t as simple as that, as I had come to learn.

And, since coming to Glasgow, I have learned a lot about being a writer.

Some things, I had to learn; I learned to be confident in my characters and in my writing because if I wasn’t passionate about them, who would be?  I learned that getting feedback is good, even if it is negative. Presenting your work to people challenges you as a writer, and being challenged is never a bad thing.

For ages, to me, creative writing meant whatever I had scribbled in journals that were hidden away for ages. These scraps were not to be shared with the strangers unless it was in a bound book. Those are things that no one questions. The strangers weren’t supposing to be sitting right in front of you, telling you what they liked and disliked about something you’d laboured on since you can remember.

There are other things that I wanted to learn; how to improve pacing, how to ground long bits of description so you don’t lose your reader.

Then there are the things I discovered while I was here. Those are, perhaps, the best of all. The community here of writers has helped me thrive. They can push me to see things differently and keep me motivated to keep writing, even if something doesn’t work the way I’ve intended it to. That community includes both my fellow students as well as the staff.

So, right, a whole novel doesn’t seem so scary anymore, right?