If it takes a village to raise a child then it seems to me that it equally takes a village to raise a novel.
Writing a novel is a bit like assisting a child’s evolution into the well-rounded, well-adjusted, thoughtful and dynamic being we hope for. The task of raising a child is so vast it’s virtually impossible to do it well in isolation. We need a supportive and loving partner and if we are so blessed – grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and our friends, championing us from the sidelines, pitching in when we need them. We also need to find the right kinds of nourishment, plus the appropriate professionals, carers and schools to best nurture our offspring.
You, as writer, are the primary creator and caregiver of your sometimes unruly, sometimes unfathomable, yet ultimately endearingly seductive and loveable entity. You, as writer, primarily work in isolation and you, as writer, long for the connection and support of your community – be it fellow writers, avid readers or simply people who care.
My writing village includes academic studies (thank you Toni Jordan and Olga Lorenzo), informal workshops (thanks to Cate Kennedy and Janey Runci), writing groups (such as the glorious Lemon Tarts past and present) along with the family and friends who barrack for me while witnessing the marathon slog.
And of course, this is just the drafting stage, the enormous trek before reaching that point of polish when you hope and pray the manuscript is finally ready to present to a publisher. Then, if you are very lucky, you begin that next level of work with your editor – and so the village keeps expanding.
About: The Village is Thriving, a non-fiction article, was published in the December 2010 edition of The Victorian Writer.