I’ve been writing a novel now for several months, and the major complaint I get from content reviewers (not editors) is that it takes me too long to get from one action sequence to another. I fill paragraph after paragraph with character description (which is good) and endless monologue (which is bad), and I commit the egregious sin of telling, not showing my reader what happens. So, as any writer does, I sat down and started revising. Unfortunately, instead of trimming the fat, I only added more, and filled in the plot holes with plot chasms, going from bad to worse. So I revised again. And Again. 100k words went to 155k words, and I dropped the ending completely, as it no longer fit. I don’t know at what point my long novel morphed into a trilogy, but I could tell by about the third revision that I wasn’t going to be able to say all I wanted to say in just one volume. So it becomes Book One, hopefully just one of three, and not the ‘Robert Jordan‘ style he demonstrated in ‘The Wheel of Time‘ series. I’m not that bad. I hope. [i color=”red”]icon-ok icon-2x[/i]
Now, I’m at the point where I don’t know which end is up, and I’m desperately seeking that light at the end of the tunnel, but for all I’m doing, I seem to be heading in the wrong direction.
Then, NaNoWriMo pops into the mix. For those who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, was established in 1999. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that encourages writers to believe in themselves and attempt to capture a story that is theirs to tell. This year, they anticipate over half a million participants. Nano is a headlong rush into creative writing, where participants start on 1 November to write a 50,000 word novel by midnight on 30 November. For most people, this is a chore, as they don’t think they have time, or they aren’t creative enough, not that good with words, or what have you. To be fair, it sets out to prove the naysayers wrong. People can write a novella (a short novel) or even a novel in thirty days. All they have to do is write an average 1667 words a day, every day of November, and they will complete the task and ‘win’ the contest.
See what I did there? [i color=”red”]icon-ok icon-2x[/i] I got off track and burned precious words telling you what you’ve already seen me write in previous articles. Good grief.
Anyway, Nano comes along and I think to myself, “Self, why don’t you plan to write Book Two of your series?” and I reply, not knowing what a headache I was about to cause myself, “Sure thing, Self, brilliant idea! I’ll get right on that.” So I do a nice month-long prep for Book Two while continuing to revise Book One. Both ended up in shoddy shape after that. And no, I am not concerned about the fact that I talk to myself. When you write detailed interactions between multiple disparate characters, it starts to become second nature.
I am halfway through my 50,000 word goal for Nano, and I’m only a few days into the month. I think I hit 27,800 words today. I’m not really thrilled, even though I am doing well enough compared with the average. I know I can crank out 5k words a day when I’m ‘in the zone’. Unfortunately, I can’t even see ‘the zone’ from where I am currently. I have tried to encourage others to write more, and help them through some of their own perils and pitfalls, but I won’t claim to be some kind of a mentor by any means. I am just me.
Book One is on the operating table. ‘Gutted’ is too loose a term to describe it. Book Two, which is my Nano project, is moving along far too slowly for me. And at some point, I will have to outline (more than a paragraph) what Book Three will cover, so I can begin to wrap up the loose ends and figure out what goes where. Too much detail? Yeah, just a bit. I have not yet learned how to be succinct or dazzling in my descriptions. I would take either at this point. *sigh* [i color=”red”]icon-ok icon-2x[/i]