Writing a Novel—The New You

by Peter Leavell, @PeterLeavell

You have an idea. A thought that thrills. You want to write a book.

Give up the dream of being a published author. Let go the hopes of notoriety, of money, of telling highbrow conferences you’re already booked. Forget that you ever wanted to be popular.

But you use those petty desires to start your novel.

You call on your imagination to piece together sounds which form words to convey ideas from your consciousness. You heed advice and write a blog. Another human being understands. The miracle isn’t they read your blog. The miracle is they understand the concept you’re telling them. And the glory is their conviction from your words. They are a better because you write.

You start your book. And you write more. And you look around.

What have you done to get here? You offend everyone who ever hoped you’d be something. You disappoint people you know. It bothers many because you know who you are and where you’re going, because they don’t even know what they want. You’ve pursued the Sacred and production and given up performance.

You put your head down and keep writing.

You’ve discovered that respect comes not from doing what you’re told, but by creating, taking everything from every opportunity.

Take what you need with no apologies.

You finish the first draft. And you start the rewrite.

Commitment is currency and constructing art is the purchased goods. The crime is not missing the dreaded party or the frustrating commitments, but unwritten stories, unpainted landscapes, unshed tears of pain and joy.

Are you starting a new book?

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You study books on how to write. You craft your prose carefully. You obsess about details.

Only those obsessed were added to the Bible. Only those obsessed wrote the Bible. The nights are long and hard. How bad do you want to create? More. You want it more.

When actor Will Smith is on a treadmill beside you, he says one of two things will happen. Either you will get off first. Or he will die. That’s inspiration. You find the most successful people you know, ask them their process. Learn how hard they work. And you work harder.

You keep grinding on your novel.

You create a lifestyle similar to other writers.

Protect the assets. Exercise them. Rest them.

Assets:

  • Brain: imagination and connection maker.
  • Body: travel research assistant.
  • Willpower: limited supply.
  • Obsession: they’ll say it’s wrong, but why, then, is this so right? God-given obsession.
  • Fingers: you’re finding you can type without looking at the keyboard. When did that happen?

You will be tired, but exhaustion is the price of courage.

This will change you. Beware.

And you will have written a book. And you’re a better person—a content creator for the Creator. Those petty desires that started you down the path?

You don’t even remember what they were.

READ MORE WRITING TIPS

Sparking Emotions in Your Readers by Kathleen Freeman

5 Types of Rough Drafts by Michelle Griep

The Rhythm of Rest by Allen Arnold


Shadow of Devil’s Tower

Philip Anderson is a reluctant gunslinger whose fame has spread through the Dakota Territory. He can’t escape his reputation as the hero who took down the entire Maxwell Gang, and he’s even had a popular dime novel written about him. All Philip yearns for is to live a quiet life raising horses and to finally marry his beloved Anna. He’d gladly give up his half of the treasure map his murdered father left behind, but until Jacob Wilkes is captured he can never hang up his gun. Bent on destroying Philip and everything he loves, Wilkes has his eye on the hidden cache. And on Anna.

Just when Philip thinks he might be able to bury the demons of his past, the unthinkable happens and Anna and her family are kidnapped. Riding his Arabian mare Raven, he is forced into the race of his life as he desperately tracks his enemies across the desert. Can he rescue Anna before it’s too late? Joining forces with old friends like Teddy Roosevelt and Running Deer, Philip is pushed to the breaking point. Will he ever be free, or must he make the ultimate sacrifice for those he loves under the shadow of Devil’s Tower?

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com