Progression of a Writer – Melanie Whithaus

As a writer, ironically, one of my biggest fears is writing a novel. There’s so much work and thought that goes into a novel that I find it all to be very overwhelming. Between characters, plots, themes, and everything in between, you have a lot to think about.

When I first started to take writing seriously, when I was in the sixth grade, I wrote three novels between the ages of 12 and 15. At the time, they were my pride and joy. I spent hours every day working on them and thought I was the next Shakespeare. I even imagined myself being on Oprah’s novel list and she would welcome me onto her show. At 15, that seemed so easy. You write a novel and you become famous. But as I grew older, I realized everything else that goes into writing a novel. Before I wrote for the pleasure of writing. Each chapter of my novels might as well have been short stories of their own. Sometimes the chapters didn’t even match up with the rest of the book. I was simply writing to write. It wasn’t until I was 16 when I realized everything that goes into a novel.

I started a new novel that I have still yet to finish. It was a teen fiction with a hint of the supernatural, so basically it would be a best seller if I finally finished it. At the time, I had so many other ideas and I didn’t do anything but write. Sometimes I would have two or three novels going at once. But that was before I discovered short stories and poetry. I thought that as a writer, I had to write novels. I didn’t think I could write anything else, but when I found poetry my whole style of writing changed.

I’ve been told that many of my prose pieces are poetic. Poetry is something that has always stuck with me and been a building block for my writing career. Without it, I don’t know where my style would be these days. But writing poetry is what opened me into an entirely new world of writing. There were verses and syllables to be concerned about. I didn’t discover my love for short stories until my junior year in high school. I wrote one short story that blew everything else I had writing previously out of the water. I then knew that short stories were my thing.

Ever since then, I’ve pushed novels aside. I figure that instead of spending months on one large piece, I can spend several months writing several short pieces. But recently, the influences around me have encouraged me to start writing novels again. I miss falling in love with characters of my own and their stories. I have so many ideas, I just don’t know where to start. But with a little help from the writing community around me and the experience I have gained over the past four years, I have faith that I can get back on the novel bandwagon and get it published. I will once again be writing to write, to have fun with words and characters, and to love what I do.


One comment on “Progression of a Writer – Melanie Whithaus

  1. I can relate. I have 15 first chapters sat on a pendrive, a completed novella on floppy disc – yes, floppy disc. That’s how old it is. A completed novella that was going to be a best-seller, and flopped so has now been taken out of print. There was a ten year gap between the two. But then I read a popular contemporary romance trilogy and decided on a different genre – wrote three full-length novels in the space of six months! I think it’s about finding yourself. I always pictured myself as the next best-selling crime writer, turns out I’m better at romance.


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