I’m still finding it hard to believe, but I actually did it, I wrote a novel thanks to the National Novel Writing Month! I first talked about taking on my third attempt at NaNoWriMo as a Guilty Pleasure. I also skipped a Guilty Pleasure at the end of November so I could concentrate on writing because I was really behind. I am thrilled to say not only did I reach the 50,000 word goal (50,218 to be exact), I actually finished it!
I have had so many story ideas in my head since I was a teenager that just a two or three sentence description of each fills most of a notebook. Each one has been updated and edited several time into a pretty concise and organized story. Only one has been written out beginning to end, and that didn’t happen until last month. I realized, thanks to something one of the NaNoWriMo mentors wrote, I’ve been afraid of writing the stories down. As long as they’re in my head, they’re kind of perfect. I can’t mess them up and people can’t judge or hate them. But, I also can’t share them and there are a few I really do want to share.
The novel from November is far from perfect. It was a kind of strange idea and one of the few I didn’t have completely finished before I started – one of the rules for NaNoWriMo is that you have to start the physical writing from scratch and I have a habit of writing bits of dialogue here and there that I want to keep and not have to toss them out. But this is the first story I let escape on to the page, and that makes it pretty special.
Right now, the novel and I are taking a break. I ended up writing over 7000 words of fiction with no idea of where exactly I was going in 48 hours at the end. That was a little much, especially for someone of the chronically ill persuasion. I need a break before I go back and start rewriting and editing, and make no mistake it will need lots of both. And that’s ok – it was something else I was afraid of, thinking I needed to be perfect in the first draft. But it doesn’t need to be perfect the first draft, and frankly there will probably be something in the final draft that I won’t think is perfect and that’s ok too. What’s important is telling the stories!
So keep an eye out. I’ll be giving updates periodically. I don’t think I’m going to go so far as to turn it into an actual book (though I must admit it is tempting to actually see it looking like book) but I’m going to do something with it if for no other reason than to push myself that little bit further and let other people read it. At the very least it will end up as a free online read somewhere.
For now I’m enjoying the little confidence boost I’m getting from knowing that I wrote my first novel. It may not be great, but it’s a start, and right now that’s what I really need.
- You: NaNoWriMo results: 42,008 new novels written in November (latimes.com)
- I’m a WINNER! – NaNoWriMo Day 30 (fangsandlasers.wordpress.com)