I’ve been doing lots of “techie” tasks lately on my website, and while it’s been challenging, for the most part there’s a person to contact or a video to watch to solve most technical issues. As a result of all of this back and forth, I found myself telling Barry that there ought to be tech support for writers! Wouldn’t that be awesome?
But in reality, how would that phone call go?
“Yeah, um, I’m writing a novel and I need help.”
“What seems to be the problem?”
“I don’t know. The middle doesn’t flow.”
“Flow? Let me check my manual.”
The sound of typing.
“Ma’am, I can’t seem to find anything. Can you be more specific?”
“Flow. You know, it seems choppy. Like, the first hundred pages are fine, but then it seems to sag.”
“There’s something here about middle-of-novel problems being common, especially in first-time novelists’ work.”
The sound of flames would come out of my mouth, no doubt: “I am not a first-time novelist, and there is something WRONG with the middle of my novel. Can you just get someone to come take a look?”
Typing, typing, typing, then.
“If you had sentence fragments or comma splices, maybe I could help you, maybe, but a middle problem? I’m afraid the best you can do is find a writer friend to troubleshoot it or hire an editor.”
Sometimes I wish novels were widgets and you could at a glance know when they’re finished, know when something’s out of place. As someone who has helped others with their novels, I can say with all confidence that yes, there are ways to make books much, much better. And thankfully, I do have a way of knowing when my novels are finished. I’ve learned when it’s time to walk away from my book for a few days or weeks. I’ve learned when to persevere.
Wouldn’t it be great, though, if there were tech support for novels?