NaNo turned Not-Well turning Novel

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Well, almost a month into the new year now, and nearly two full months after the official end of NaNoWriMo, here is where I am: my work originally started as a NaNoWriMo novel is going steady to its finish. Not the case for a long time, however.

Immediately after the NaNo pressure, my inspiration and motivation somewhat subsided, even though my husband pushed me to write “while it’s still fresh in your mind”, which, indeed, was a fair remark, since after a half-week pause I realised I had forgotten a great deal of the characters and their aims in the narrative. (Funny to imply they have any “aims”, as most of the time, or let me admit it – the best of times, my characters just do as they please and don’t bother to seek my opinion).

Sadly, though, things were not going along the thorny path of creation, but along the rather smooth path to oblivion. My husband, however, argued, “I believe in you and do my bestest to support you, so you MUST finish it and show me I was right.” Well, he said something to that end, only more colourful and not by those dry words.

So, in December I felt compelled to keep up my NaNo rhythm, or at least pretend to. Around the middle of December, quite naturally, approaching holidays diverted my attention and kicked me in the sinister pool of fake family festivity and horrendous horrors of hypocrisy. Two sets of non-working days were nearly waisted, but not completely. The deadline I had set myself did not see the finishing of my novel. In fact, I was not even near it. In despair, I decided to cut the story short and instead of completing the school year as I had initially planned, to stop the action at the turn of the Year – 1st of January, that is. So, I needed just of couple of scenes and talks and twists to make it to the end.

Hardly finding the time and place to sit and type (a curious nearly-2-year-old hitting keys and spilling water or putting heavy objects over the laptop is not a small obstacle), I took the printout of my piece that I had printed a while after the validation of the NaNo words and started reading. Almost immediately, I needed a pen. Things were nigh terrible 🙂 I mean, really!

Reading what I had written so far, yet, was extremely useful for me. I saw that although I thought I was spending too much time on a scene, it did not show in the text. Obviously, the time spent thinking and re-thinking, or even pre-thinking, does not have a way to get recorded on the page. I saw that certain events, or sub-events are so hasty and hurried that they are annoying. In addition, the big work of my November, was too short and I read it very fast. So, here are the lessons learnt.

Firstly, readers will not know what was in my head. That is why the “thing” in my head should not stop me from producing on page. I may get tired with my characters, due to over-use or over-communication with them, but that does not apply to the reader, in fact.

Secondly, the initial part is rubbish, but when I got the impetus, around the middle of the book, the reading is good. So, I need to give myself some time for tuning and then go back and revise those parts. It means that I need to spend longer chunks of time at a single sitting as it is around the 10th page that I begin writing tolerable stuff.

Thirdly, I decided to complete my original intention and cover the entire first year at school.

So, around the middle of January work began anew, and with a new perspective.

4 replies on “NaNo turned Not-Well turning Novel”

  1. Adriana says:

    Yay, I’m so glad to hear you’re writing again and on your way to finish it! I haven’t done ANY writing since NaNo ended. Every now and then I open my document and skim through it, but I’m not ready yet to restart.

    But I am encouraged by your discoveries: namely, that even though the beginning wasn’t great, your writing got better later on. Which proves that practice does make perfect 🙂

    And one more thing, about spending a lot of time on a scene — I think that’s the goal here, and the real quality of great writing: that your readers can’t tell how much you agonized over a scene. If it reads like it was effortless, then you’ve done a perfect job!

    Keep writing! Hope the muses stay with you.

  2. Adi, thanks a lot for your support.
    It’s really nice to discover new things and get aware of certain truths all authors perhaps know (yet, one can’t simply adopt someone else’s truths; it’s not how it works in real life ;-))
    The hard thing which is ahead is that I rarely enjoy long periods of time that I can work undisturbed… Yet, isn’t all the memorable stuff in life, precisely the one that impeded us and made us break a sweat. What are we to remember else?

    A brief point – it’s regarding the doc-file. Tried to skim through it, but it turned out I really prefer working with the printed copy – perhaps being the older generation that used to carry around notebooks for 17 years of our lives has a say here. I like scratching, scribbling notes (don’t believe I have such complex or deep things as “notes”) in the blanks of the pages…

    And I DO think editing will be tough. I have a lot to change – one character in particular, and some more… Rainy days ahead 😀

  3. cheri says:

    Keep writing & revising! I won my 7th NaNo in November, and it is **by far** the worst one I’ve written. =( I just couldn’t wrap my head around it like I could the others (due to a lot of real life reasons…but not because of the characters or their story). So, I have LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of revisions ahead of me. I put 2010’s away to work on revisions for the other, better novels so far this year though…most of them are in their 3rd draft, so they have less polishing! ;o)

    Good luck!!

  4. Cheri, thanks a lot for the encouragement! Every now and then, I lose patience with what’s ahead; then I start at it again. I guess that’s only normal.
    Good luck with your revisions, too.

    And, I’m curious – what have you done with the other 6 novels you wrote in the previous NaNoWriMo-s? And what period do you let yourself for editing and revision – do you take until the next November, or do you set yourself a deadline?

    And good luck again!

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