Novels take an awful lot of time to write

Long absence from blogging because … a novel, a play, many grant proposals, a poetry manuscript, and I have words coming out of my ears, dangling over my head as I sleep, raining into my bedroom, puffing out of my puppy’s nostrils. (Can you see that one? I do!)

Really, novels take too much time to write. I love reading them and writing them. I hope I’ve learned enough to write faster the next time. I’ve learned way more than I ever wanted to about story arcs and story structure, including such things as plot points, pinch points, story goals, stakes, consequences, foreshadowing — and I had little idea when I waded into the book that there was such a science developed around this art form.

Now when I read or watch TV and movies I’m analyzing how they’re handling story and character and backstory and setting. It’s good to know the rules to break. I so look forward to getting back into poetry, where the rules are more familiar and breakable. I can hear them cracking along the lines where the chips appeared and then the pieces falling on the floor and breaking into smaller pieces. Those rules I know and love. These new ones, I’m tapping with tiny hammers to find the breaking seams.

Recent novels that interested me: Erica Bauermeister’s The School of Essential Ingredients, Karen Essex’s Leonardo’s Swans, Elizabeth Kostova’s The Swan Thieves, Christine Potter’s Time Runs Away With Her.

Visit for more information and writing by Rachel Dacus.