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Novel Lessons

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Novel Lessons

Photo credit Averie Sargent.

Photo credit Averie Sargent.

Photo credit Averie Sargent.

Photo credit Averie Sargent.

Averie Sargent

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Ever since I was young I’ve had a dream — a dream that I tried countless times to accomplish but never did. That dream was to write a novel.

Sixty-two thousand, three hundred and fifty-five words later, it became reality. My characters have become real to me, the long hours that I stared at my computer screen shorter now. I have felt the pressure to “make it good” and at times wanted to trash all my work. It all happened within a blink of an eye but somehow felt like an eternity of time.

In my book, which is still yet to be named, I tell the story of young Emilia Reiss. When my book starts, we find Emilia in a place in life where she can only trust a few people. People in her life have dealt poorly with her. Throughout the book, we uncover her hurts, family secrets and loves as she learns to trust. And like Emilia, I’ve found that some lessons are harder than others. Those, I learned from writing a novel.  

Teaching yourself a lesson is difficult enough, but stitching that lesson into your book while you’re still are learning the very thing you’re trying to teach is another level of difficulty. You start writing your book thinking it will be easy, but it is not. It’s laborious and all you want is it to be all over, except when you come to the final chapter, final page and final paragraph you find yourself unable to write the last words. At least that’s how it was to me, but that is not all I learned.

I learned you will find the best of you, the worst of you and who you want to be in your characters. Your characters are all a part of you; how they act, look, speak and breathe all reflect subtle parts of you. They are the kindest you, the rudest you and the person wish you could be. They have the same shade of hair you have, but the eye colors you wish you had. Your characters contain parts of you that you despise. They stand by your morals, don’t have any morals or have morals you wish you could live up to. You’ve taken chunks of yourself and molded them into distant images so that they become a “better you” and you strive to be like your characters. I have found myself striving to be like mine.

Next, but oh, my favorite (not): There is always one character that reminds you of an old friend or someone that meant or means a lot more than that. It kills you that you created this character, but somehow they ended up being one of your main characters. How funny is that? That one character that ends up being your favorite character is well-rounded, real and true, the one you know best. Changing the initials leads to a spitting image of that one person, who acts just as that person acted. It hurts you, but you write them anyway. In writing these characters, I found out how much I truly care about the people in my life.

Finally, those hour-long writing sessions where you procure 5,000 words don’t actually happen. Believe me, I know — and I’ve tried countless times. It’s more like staring at a blank page for three hours.

Three glorious hours. One page. Yes, trying to type out words but not being able to think up a single word. Typing, deleting, retyping, (re)deleting, retyping …  the same sentence … you get the point.

It is so strenuous to write a book. You exert and exert until you give up for the day, hating your plot, characters and all the words you’ve written (especially those three-hour one-pagers).

But, at the end of the day, you are doing what few even dare to attempt. Maybe one day your book will be a bestseller; maybe not. Maybe it will be turned into a movie, television show or play; maybe not. Maybe you’ll publish it; maybe not. But that doesn’t matter, because writing a book is a beautiful thing.

A book is blood, sweat and tears all wrapped up in a hardcover and inscribed on ink-scented pages. A book is creating a world, people and circumstances that need to be read about, that needed someone like you to write them. A book is learning a lesson as you write it. And that is how I learned my lesson, a lesson of trusting in yourself, trusting in other and preserving. I learned it all from writing a book.

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One Response to “Novel Lessons”

  1. Joselyn on April 25th, 2018 3:19 pm

    Really nice article I can really tell that you have been blessed with the gift of writing, hopefully I get the chance to read the book.

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