The 10 Hilariously Familiar Stages of Writing a Novel (In Pictures)

The writing of every novel is a journey — mostly to Insaneville via the crazy train. All writers know this journey. Some know it all too well, repeating the cycle each year despite the guarantee of endless rounds of literary trauma. 

So obviously I thought it’d be fun to revisit this journey (through pictures) for both investigation and celebration. 

10 Stages of Writing A Novel 

Stage 1: This Is The Best Idea Ever! 

This idea is so good I wrote it on my face

In this stage, you feel electrified, on fire. This is the best idea in the history of ideas. The world will explode at this idea. Bestselling authors will prostrate before you. Movies will be made. Records broken. Religions invented. Disney  will erect a new World. Celebrities will name thier first born celebrity babies after your idea. 

Stage 2: Muse This!

Actual picture of me – Ok not really.

  Ideas flow in this stage, words gush with gleeful abandon, releasing the inner rockstar you always knew you were. You’d stop to high five yourself every 5 minutes if the pages weren’t literally writing themselves. You start practicing your award speech even though writers don’t win those kinds of awards. You are an unstoppable prose-producing machine. Your elementary school English teacher can suck it.


Stage 3: Words are Hard

The answer to my plot is in this jar – I know it!

Things are still going pretty well, but Your muse is drawing back a bit. Words aren’t so flowy, each sentence is a strain, doable, but slowing down. When did wording become so hard? You avoid panic only through creative gymnastics of denial that there is a problem. You don’t have a problem, you tell yourself, people with problems go to meetings. You conveniently forget about your writing group. 

Stage 4: Uh Oh…

Maybe my muse is under this big rock

Your muse doesn’t show up one day. You stare at your thesaurus with barely contained bitterness. You wish words were just hard again instead of impossible. 

Stage 5: Nooooo

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.13.37 AM

Doubt sets in. What word goes next? This sentence stinks. The paragraph before it is even worse. You feel like a fraud. You reget that last Facebook post about your story — what story?! Where is your muse? Why won’t he return your text messages?! You consider dialing 911…


Stage 6: Why Word God, Why?! 

Tell me where my muse is or I swear I’ll shoot…this banana.

That’s when you start running around with a banana…wait, no that’s not right. You DO start acting strange. You start thinking crazy. Who ever thought this idea was good? Your one year old who only knows two phrases —”ninja turtle” and “poo poo head” —could come up with a better idea. You’re not a writer. Never will be. Your friends will laugh. Your mother will disown you.


Stage 7: Kill Me Now 


Life is at its darkest. Your muse shows up but only to taunt you. She brings her much better looking new significant other. The English language hates you. At your lowest point, you almost call your elementary school English teacher to beg for a free internship. 


Stage 8: But Wait…

Apparently all hope is located up and to the right.

But wait! A crack opens in the dark void. A light. You see a light. A word comes to you, then a sentence, a whole beautiful paragraph. It’s not easy, it’s damn hard, but it’s coming together. 

Stage 9: I Think I Can… 

This photo is not photoshopped at all.

Yes, yes, you completed a whole scene. You’re bleeding onto the typewriter but you’re typing. Your muse shows up for one last prose session but ends up staying  all night. Yeah, she wants you. 


Stage 10: Whew!


You finished your novel! You have never felt better in your life. You propose to your muse, delete your English teacher’s number from your phone (why do you even have it in the first place — that’s weird) and dance on your desk until you collapse in a post prose blackout.


Now…what’s that other idea you had…😀


Christopher is currently comatose in a post prose blackout. Keep up with him by joining his super fun newsletter community. 


First Photo: Credit to Flikr 


Christopher Kokoski is a speaker, trainer and author of Wicker Hollow and the Past Lives novel series.

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Posted in screenwriting, writer, Writing
3 comments on “The 10 Hilariously Familiar Stages of Writing a Novel (In Pictures)
  1. Ketimay says:

    Reblogged this on ketimae and commented:
    This is me before, during and after I wrote Compound Matters.

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