Thursday, March 4, 2021

How I Write a Novel

by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I just turned in what will be, Lord willing, my seventh published novel. I’ve come to realize that despite my best intentions, the process always looks something like this . . .
I should start this book, but that blinking cursor looks grumpy. I’ll do some more research into weapons of mass destruction and how to poison someone so it makes them very sick but doesn’t kill them.

I need chocolate. 

I should have started this book months ago. This opening scene is amazing. So stressful and tense. My readers are going to be a wreck! Yes! Now, to figure out what happens after this. 

I still have no idea what happens next so I’m just going to blow something up and keep writing. Maybe something good will accidentally fly from my fingers and fill the page.

I love these characters. They have such cool jobs and quirky personalities. They are so much fun to hang out with. This is going to be awesome.

I don’t know anything about my characters’ jobs. Why do they have to do things that are classified? How will I ever figure out what a day in their life looks like? I can’t write another word until I do more research. If I’m bored, readers will be, too. Is it too soon for a kissing scene? (Answer: No)

I need chocolate.

I still have six months before this book is due. There’s no way I’m going to have any trouble meeting this deadline. I am so on top of things.

I would like to find the person who told me writing was fun so I can throw sharpened pencils at them until they beg forgiveness.

I didn’t see that coming. I love it when my characters do things I didn’t expect. It’s my favorite part of being a writer. I love my job!

I have so many plot threads running loose that I’ll never corral them all. I think I’ll bake a cake and call it research.

I have two months to turn this book in. **looks at calendar** I am in big, big trouble.

I need chocolate.

I want these characters to be real so I can hang out with them forever. I’m going to miss them so much when I finally type THE END.

I’m almost at my word count, but I have no idea how this book is going to end. I’m not even sure who the bad guy is.

I’ve lost the ability to spell random words. Not words like perspicacious (which I just spelled correctly on the FIRST try), but words like squawk which took four tries (and the thesaurus had to suggest the correct spelling before I got it).

I need chocolate.

I am one week away from my deadline. I’m crying in grocery stores, at church, in my car, and while thinking about the book. I don’t want to think about this book anymore. At all. Ever.

I don’t have enough time to do this. I know! I’ll clean out the pantry and reorganize my closet.

I need chocolate.

I have three days to finish this. I have the best idea ever for a new series. I won’t be able to start writing it for at least two years, so I’d better jot down all my thoughts now so I don’t forget them.

I can’t remember the taste of strawberries. (Come on, where are my Lord of the Rings fans)? Do people have jobs that don’t come with a yearly existential crisis? I need to find one.

I have no idea how I did this. Truly. I’m done. THE END. Praise the Lord. I don’t care if I ever write another book. Ever.

I hope my editor likes it.

I need a lot of chocolate.

Hmm….that blinking cursor on that blank page looks grumpy, but this opening scene is going to be awesome and these characters are so cool…

Grace and peace,


Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Lynn’s titles have won the Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award. Her newest series kicks off in March 2021 with Unknown Threat, Book 1 in the Defend and Protect series. 

She is a frequent conference speaker and has taught writers all over the country. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after by signing up for her newsletter at LYNNHBLACKBURN.COM and @LynnHBlackburn on BOOKBUB, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM. 


  1. Thanks for the chuckle. And know you aren't alone.

  2. I absolutely LOVE this post, Lynn. You've captured all author's thoughts. Yes, I need chocolate. It's 8:30 am it too early? ;-) LOL

  3. Lynn, what you wrote is so true. Love your sense of humor; it's a necessary component for this job.

  4. Have you been looking over my shoulder???? Loved this!

  5. Lynn, this is great. I can so identify with you. For example, I should start the next chapter, but I think I need tea. Or coffee. And then a cookie to go with it. I also go through the love-hate relationship with my characters and the I'm so bored with this book, so everyone else will be too … who can I hurt or get in trouble?

  6. So funny, but so true. Thanks for lightening the load and making us feel normal as we go through this process!

  7. Loved this! I know we all go through some of this at times.

  8. Ah, the life of a writer. Maybe if the characters we create could start typing for us, like when we need that chocolate break, then we could have less stress. But what am I saying? Stress is part of the job. Write On!

  9. Golly, a great blog that hits the nail where authors live. Is that a mixed metaphor? Should it be in my next book? Thank you, Lynn, for brightening my morning.

  10. Golly, great fun. Thank you for brightening my morning.