Write the novel you want to write, not the one you think you should

One piece of advice I keep coming across is that you should write the book you want to write, not follow a trend. This is good advice. Advice I should have taken when I wrote my first novel ‘Goodbye December’.
I had originally wanted to write the book with a set of characters aged 19 – 26. Today that would put the novel squarely into the New Adult category. However, I wrote the book over 10 years ago, back then New Adult was nothing but an abstract idea. You either wrote a Young Adult novel, or an Adult novel. There wasn’t anything with characters in that age group.
So I wrote it as an adult novel, with older characters. It was ok. I liked it when it was finished. Still, something wasn’t right about it. Something didn’t chime. Undeterred I queried it – without much success. I gave up after about 30 queries and put it away. I didn’t write much for a while.
Eventually I started writing short stories and after placing them in the finals of a local writing contest for 2 years in a row I got some of my confidence back.
I looked at ‘Goodbye December’ again. I still felt that the story would be better with younger characters but New Adult was still in its infancy. So I tried to rewrite the story with characters that were still high school age, so I could called it Young Adult. It didn’t work. They had to be at least 18 years old. I put it all away again and start working on another project. Now that the project is finished and it’s making the querying rounds I have time to revisit “Goodbye December” once again.

This time around I will actually write it the way I wanted to, with characters aged between 19 and 26.

Maybe now that New Adult is a real phenomenon it might work the way I had originally imagined it. It’s a big project, but I’m actually looking forward to making it what it was always supposed to be. In hindsight I should have written the novel the way I wanted to in the first place. You never know what new genres might become popular down the line. Even if what you’ve written doesn’t fit into any genre you should still write your novel the way you want to write it , otherwise I feel that it just won’t come out the way you intended. I definitely felt this way about this story , but I still have hope that it will turn out the way I always intended it to.

2 thoughts on “Write the novel you want to write, not the one you think you should

  1. Interesting. I really admire your will to write and am still am in awe of your voice on paper versus your voice in real life. Sign of talent to me, your stories are so interesting and you really create an atmosphere. Looking forward to reading more..AND getting together finally!


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