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15 Things It’s Totally Normal to Do When You’re One Paragraph from Finishing Your Novel


January 9, 2014 by J.C. Lillis

  1. Question every word.

2. Put off finishing the last paragraph because you’re going to miss hanging out with your characters.

Which is why I make mine into dolls.


3. Read good reviews of other people’s books and think THIS IS WHY THEY’RE BRILLIANT AND I SUCK.


4. Read bad reviews of other people’s books and think OMG THAT BAD THING PEOPLE HATE IS ALSO POSSIBLY IN MY BOOK.


5. Reread a favorite scene and feel momentarily proud.


6. Wonder if you only feel proud because you’re chronically deluded. Recall the time you thought your crush was into you because you asked if you could write him a letter over the summer and he said “sure, if you want.”

Only Dana Scully saved me from myself that year.


7. Ponder all the times you’ve been a bad friend or parent while writing this book. Make a list of all the people you need to apologize/send flowers to.

These are for you. You know who you are.


8. Eat peanut butter straight out of the jar.

Nutella will also suffice.


9. Against your better judgment, scroll through writing advice on Twitter to see if you’re Doing It Right according to other people. End up baffled because Respected Person A says you should never mention mouths and lips in kiss scenes because it makes the scene squicky instead of hot, and Respected Person B says kiss scenes don’t feel real unless you put in gritty details like bad breath and gross noises, so WHICH IS IT PEOPLE AND ZOMG MY KISS SCENE SUCKS I’M REWRITING IT FOR THE EIGHTEENTH TIME.



10. Have a drink. Remind yourself that everyone has an opinion and that’s why the world isn’t boring.


11. Procrastinate with the unauthorized biography of Julio Iglesias. Hate yourself.


12. Draw a dementor in a bowling alley. Hate yourself a little less.


13. Coax your fingers awake. Put on your warm slippers. Convince yourself you are in possession of at least a moderate level of storytelling acumen, and FINISH THE DAMN PARAGRAPH. Then celebrate with a cup of cocoa and a before-midnight bedtime.

How I’ve missed you.


14. Bolt awake at 2 a.m.


15. Question. Every. Word.


WE WON’T FEEL A THING comes out in March. If the dementors don’t eat it.

(Is your book debuting this spring, too? Want me to host a cover reveal? Hit me up at jclillisbooks AT gmail and let me know how I can help.)


  1. Heather C says:

    It’s a known fact that that is the only way peanut butter should EVER be eaten. With a spoon…or a butter knife. And then dip the pretzels directly into the Nutella jar.

  2. J.C. Lillis says:

    The butter knife somehow feels less sinful than the spoon, for some reason. And I FINALLY got wise to the Nutella-pretzel thing this year, after far too long in the dark.

  3. Sara says:

    So much of this sounds so familiar. :P Although I do not have an unauthorized bio of Julio Iglesias. Interested, though, since I grew up w/ my mom’s records of him. Perhaps I will add that to my avoidance dance next time around!

    • J.C. Lillis says:

      you should. it’s hilarious. (and will soon be the subject of a new blog post.)

      No avoidance, though — I want more books like Silent!

  4. Faith says:

    Oh, this is so my life. Number 9 gets me at all times. I have to be very careful on twitter!

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