Meet Mr Skelly 

I’m taking next week off work to write. As in work on the novel idea that has been rattling around my head these last few months. It has now got to the stage where I have to get the words out or I think my brain will explode. It is akin to mental birthing pains if that makes sense. It is time to stop talking and start writing. It could be literary gold dust or a big pile of steaming you know what. But it is time. 

I haven’t the first clue about writing a novel. I’ve read a lot about developing a structure, creating a design document and so on. But it’s got to the point now where I just have to write. I know in my head what the first few chapters will look like that and I have a fair idea of the overall story. I have fleshed out my main characters (all three of them – big exclusive there) in quite some detail and can see them in my head as clear as day. I just need now to bring them to life on the page.


I know the themes which will meander between the chapters, pages and words. I know the setting (Belfast – another exclusive) and I know the overall feel of the novel. Now I have to write. I reckon that by this time next week I will have a fair idea as to whether or not I can do this. I am excited but also nervous. It feels like the time I decided I wanted to run a marathon. The only way you can discover whether or not you are a marathoner is to run a marathon. The same applies to writing.

Who knows where this will lead? Can I make a living (or at least create a secondary income) through writing? Or will it just continue as an interest that I find both challenging and rewarding. Am I talented or just a deluded daydreamer? Only time will tell. But I know God has a plan for me and that somehow this is part of it. The growth of the blog is testament to that. He wants me to write and I need to write. That’s good enough for me.

Fionnuala is my driving force, my inspiration. She has encouraged me every step of the way and stuck by me as I have walked through many dark valleys. She has created a writing environment for me at home and it was her idea that led to this blog in the first place. The blog has been my testing ground. Without it having taken off in the way it has I doubt very much if I would be standing now on the cusp of this new adventure. The more I write, the more the words flow. I need to write in order to write. It is the least vicious of circles. 

The comments and feedback I have received from my fellow bloggers have also helped to seal the deal in my mind as well. It is such a loving, creative and supportive world to dip my literary toes into. They are not the prettiest of toes (especially after 20 mile training runs) but exposing them to fellow writers has been necessary in order to practice my craft and instil a self belief that has been lacking for many years. It is time write. It is time to live the impossible.

It is time to meet Mr. Skelly….

Have you written a novel? Do you ever plan to?

What advice can you offer a fledgling novelist?

67 thoughts on “Meet Mr Skelly 

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  1. Working on my fourth novel that I plan to work on getting published as my first book for the book series 🙂 . I must caution though, don’t let only a week determine if you are set to do this or not. Having so many steps planned out is good, but you’re right, it doesn’t determine anything until you actually start.

    Many writers often say don’t worry as much about editing when you’re writing, just get the overall feeling of what you want written down, you can always edit later. Sometimes writers can caught too much in perfection in the beginning, and that deters them from writing further, not that they don’t have it in them. They just become consumed with editing and lose focused believing THIS is why they aren’t good writers, and this is simply not true.

    To be quite honest, I didn’t know if I could do it or not till I finished writing my first novel. It took a little over a year because in the beginning I didn’t know about writing endurance and pushing myself past my “limits” (what I thought were my limits at the time.) Truth is, we have to dig through deep with some goals, with your training, I’m sure, you understand. Once, I decided this was something I truly wanted to do for the glory of God and helping others I stuck to my plan. I went from 30 pages (which took 8 months just to get down, again, inconsistent) to over 120 pages in three months finishing the novel. Stay focused, remember why you are writing, and don’t be afraid to mess up along the way.

    First novels allow the writer the first out what works for them. If not self publishing, it sometimes takes a writer his third novel to be published, but your skills in blogging are beneficial, and this statistic is not for everyone of course.

    Don’t bite off more than you chew when you begin, be willing to start slow, and evolve. 🙂

    Have fun!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am so excited for you! I’ve written everything except for a novel 🙂 but I’m getting there. Those birthing pains haven’t quite kicked in so I’m still hesitating in the idea phase. Some of the greatest advice I think I’ve ever heard for a fledgling author was from Gilbert Blythe to Anne when her first novel flopped. He told her to write in everyday English about the things she knew and the people she loved! This can look a lot different for every author but it’s certainly something to think about as you give your book a running start. Good Luck!

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  3. I have written a few books which I did not get published. For what it is worth one of the practical challenges I had was navigation of the documengt. It becomes a huge document if it is all in one document which makes it very difficult to navigate even with control find on your keyboard. So now when I do any writing I divide the entire document into separate word documents . One word document per chapter. It makes it much easier to navigate. What drove me crazy was all the different story threads that would splinter off and you would have to manage them all so that they were consistent. It is a lot of fun when you are in flow. I think flow is a kind of holy grail state of existence whether I am writing ,playing music or doing any activity.

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  4. I will read it. 🙂 I have an advice for you. Motivation can play a lot of tricks with you. Don’t let the dark voices reign over you. You can do this, even when you’re having a bad day, week or month even. We all know you can write beautifully. Remember these words, write them down for when it seems you’ve hit a dead end with your book. You haven’t. Stop, take a break for as long as you need, get a new perspective and start again. In the end it doesn’t count how long you needed for the novel (unless your name is George R. R. Martin). That is my recommendation. Good luck with your creative holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always enjoyed your writing, and I’m glad to hear you’re taking on a novel length endeavor. I do have a 90,000 word manuscript under my belt, and it was accepted for publication by an independent press. However, financial issues caused the press to close before anything could come of it. Now, I’ll begin the submission process all over again.

    I wrote a short post about three weeks ago that offers some advice on writing a novel-length manuscript. It looks like you have all your bases covered, but check out the post if you care to get some insight into my novel writing process. All the best.

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  6. I got inspiration yesterday for a the novel that’s been in my head for years. I started typing it up yesterday.
    PS-I”m reading How to Read Literature Like a Professor and it is a great guide for themes for novel ideas.

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  7. If you wish to know one resource that will teach you a lot about the craft, I’d go for listening to The Story Grid podcast and videos. It will teach you the fundamentals that will keep your reader going “and then what happens?” in a way that most people never learned.

    That said, know that the key difference between a non-writer and a writer is doing the work of buns in the chair, fingers on the keyboard and put in the work. As Anne LaMott once said “Write S####y first drafts.” Just worry about the details after you type “The End” the first time.

    The difference between a writer and an author? The desire to get it to professional grade (edit, edit, edit…) and then putting your baby out to the people and holding your breath either as an indie or getting an agent and publisher. Do it how you desire.

    That’s my thoughts.

    Give it a shot. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love.

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  8. If you haven’t read stephen kings book “on writing”, you need to. It’s two books in one. The first part is a memoir, but the second part talks through how he writes his novels. It is a FANTASTIC read. I highly recommend it to help you learn how to structure and think about writing. Hope that helps

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m currently working on a novel. The idea has been in my head for years—since college—and I’m finally writing it down. So far it’s been challenging, but also exciting. I had my first experience of the character telling me how to write, and that was so weird yet oddly satisfying. My only advice, as another fledgling novelist, is this: allow your characters to guide you. Let them write the story the way they see fit. 🙂 Best of luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Only about 2,000 words. I’ve been trying to participate in National Novel Writing Month, but it’s been hard. I have ideas, but I’m daunted by not knowing where they fit in, if at all, and then on top of working…I just need a few days to do nothing but write. Haha

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  10. I have been writing an original series (plus NUMEROUS other short-stories and novellas) for over three years now. It’s challenging trying to get all of your ideas down in writing, but it’s almost amazing to see a “world” of your creating appear before your eyes. God has given you an obvious talent for writing, so I am very excited to read your work! You are a great writer- I’m exited to see where this new project takes you! I hope it all goes well for you!

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  11. As a published writer of short stories and poetry (and not self-published but in literary journals), my advice to you is NOT to share any parts of your novel online, however tempted you may be. If you post it anywhere online, the literary journals consider it already published when you submit the piece for publication and will reject it. I imagine the book publishing houses feel the same way. On a positive note, good luck, and enjoy the journey!

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  12. I have always wanted to be a writer…..I just haven’t done anything about it. I know I need to get up off my butt and work on this but my ADHD and bipolar disorder cause me to become antsy when I’m sitting down to write and then I get distracted. It’s horrible.
    Good luck on your novel! I would love to read it one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leigh, as a retired health care professional, I strongly encourage you to write, and to make that be creative writing: short stories or even a novel. Don’t think you have to begin at the beginning and proceed in an orderly fashion to the end: for example, if you choose to write a novel, write whatever chapter or scene you’re inspired to write, whenever you feel like writing it, whether it’s a beginning, a middle, or an end. Each time you return to work on it, you may start another section, or work on completing something you began earlier. Eventually all the holes will zip themselves shut, and you’ll have a coherent, complete work of written art. It worked for me: my first novel took three weeks short of three years to write, but it was easy to work on it every day, and I never suffered from writer’s block. In fact, although it’s been several years since I finished writing it, every time I pick it up to read it, I can remember the excitement I felt when I wrote the part that I’m reading. Creative writing is something that no one can afford to leave out of life!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Wonderful you have that support network. Your wife and family sound fantastic. I have never really had any inclination to write a novel. I would not really know where to begin. I have been thinking of writing about my journey through my eating disorder. I think a make perspective would be very good. Maybe one day i will do it………… As for yourself i have said it before i think it would be a cracking read if you wrote a novel. I would definitely be in that line at the book signing.

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  14. I am currently writing book number two. Book number one is still in the editing phase and I may have to do a second and a third draft before I’m completely satisfied. I felt the same as you. I had to get it out. It was almost driving me crazy, but I knew it was the Lord pushing me outside of my comfort zone saying, “Fly, I’ve got you. This is what you were made for.” Do it! If the Lord is in it, it won’t take long. The words will flow, the plot will develop and it will convey the intended message. Praying for you on this new journey. Let go and let God!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Since you asked for feedback, here is my two cents worth. You have three characters so far, so it may be good to think about these. Robert McKee in Story (a screen writer’s bible type book) says the writer of a story should decide on having a single main character or protagonist, the most important character in the book, and everything revolves around him or her, or plural protagonists, in that your three characters are of the same importance and demonstrate the same aim, though in different ways. Can’t remember exactly the details of that. It’s something I’d need to check again, but it may be worth thinking about where your characters are on the map. Where are your three characters at in the grand design? All the best with your novel, I hope it works out.

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  16. I’m an organic writer (a ‘pantser’), so I don’t recommend doing much, if any, outlining or other advance planning for writing a novel, because it takes time for the subconscious mind to turn the bits and pieces of life experiences into the manufactured ‘memories’ that we call creative writing. This is why trying to write a novel chronologically is to court writer’s block (see my advice to ‘Leigh’). Outlining is best done very close to finishing the novel, or during the revision phase, when it’s important to know that the story maintains continuity; otherwise, a writer can be frustrated by characters who evolve in ways that were not planned. For more organic writing insights, please visit my blog (https://irishfirebrands.wordpress.com/), in which I explore how I came to write and publish my first novel.

    Happy writing!

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  17. Someone once told me, “write everyday down.” You’re a good blogger! I believe you will do great! The key is, don’t give up. God seems to have put this on your heart, He wouldn’t put it there and take it away again. Ask Him for guidance, and good luck! And if possible, find someone who can preview what you have written that has either writing experience or simply reads a lot. A fresh set of eyes is helpful, you are always harder on yourself after all.

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