I must be the last person on Earth to finish this book. I don’t even remember when I bought it. 2011? I got hung up on some of the prompts, wanting to think of something clever that didn’t come quickly.
I did it. I wrote 50,027 words of my third novel. And I’m stopping there, just over the finish line, mid-story, mid-scene, mid-paragraph.
Not Even Half of a First Draft
This story needs a thorough rethink. The world needs to be rebuilt. The plot needs rewriting. And the characters need development. What I have now feels like all those exploratory pages you’re supposed to write before you start the first draft.
That’s okay. I don’t like doing those pages and this forced me to get them done. And NaNoWriMo has declared me a winner!
The next step is to mull the project. I’ll read some genre-related books, watch some movies, make some drawings, and create a Pinterest page. Then, in April and/or July, I can do Camp NaNoWriMo which is more self directed and open to revisions.
It’s been 21 days and I’m still hitting my daily word count. I’m past 40,000 words. Today starts the home stretch.
I’ve left my outline behind. Now I’m taking the story to whatever scenes and events I find interesting. I’ll figure out how to fit the best elements together later.
Don’t Look Back
I’m not bothering to go back and revise scenes when events in the newer scenes contradict previous events. Those issues can get fixed later, if need be.
A Horse with No Name
I’m not stopping to find the perfect name for every new minor character. Nor am I stopping to craft perfect metaphors and insightful descriptions. I will stop to search for information if it will help with the world building. Like today I did a google search to see if there’s such a thing as a tie-dye caftan. There is.
Don’t Stop Believing
It’s like running a marathon blindfolded underwater, but I’m going to make it to the finish line.
It’s been 14 days and 26,281 words and I’m still hitting my daily word count.
This month is turning into a marathon writing exercise. I don’t feel like I’m working on a first draft, more like an exploration of the concept.
World building – My setting is a near future with no game-changing technological advances. The world building has more to do with with speculative developments based on current events and trends. I need to work out the chain of events, both macro and micro, that brought the characters to where they are when the story begins.
Character Discovery – I still don’t have a handle on my major characters. Part of the problem is the world building. I don’t know exactly what my characters have been through before chapter one so I don’t know how they relate and respond to what’s happening around them.
Plot Development – I suspect I’ve written the wrong type of plot for my concept. Again it goes back to the world building. If I could understand understand the extremities of my setting better, I could find a story that delivers the most entertainment.
Tone – This story is serious and dramatic, not what I usually write, nor what I’m best at. Not much can be done about that, though. I love the concept and there’s no way to do it other than dramatically.
Honestly, I’m sick of this. But I will not quit.
I’m seven days into National Novel Writing Month and I’ve hit my word count every day. 2,000 words dailywill get me to my goal of 50,000 by the 25th, the day before I leave for Thanksgiving.
The experience has been less than exhilarating. I have my doubts about this story, the plot and the characters. I’m not writing well. None of the flair is there. It’s like watching a bad play being performed by amateur actors who can’t remember their lines.
And even if I get the manuscript in shape, I don’t know if I’ll be able to sell it. I have to be the right writer, querying the right manuscript, at the right time. And how likely is that? Not very.
And yet…reread the first paragraph. Even on days I don’t think I have the time or inspiration – which has been all of them so far- I’m still writing.
To the outside observer, dedication can look like futility, and pursuing the dream of becoming a published novelist can be indistinguishable from spending hundreds of dollars at Starbucks. We all create our own fictions to give life purpose. I have mine and I’m sticking to it.
After months of prep, it’s time to get writing. I’ll be using the NaNoWriMo site to track my daily progress, with occasional updates here.
A description of the novel is here.