Sunday, November 30, 2008
nanowrimo: a reflection
"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness."

- George Orwell
As of today, at roughly 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I completed the roughest draft of my very first novel.  From start to finish, it took me 26 days to write all 50,849 words (because even God Himself rested on the 7th day). 

Is it good?  No.  Not by a long shot.  It is a melodramatic, meandering mess, and I freely admit that I have lost track of basic character traits and timelines at several points throughout my narrative.  My novel is not particularly enjoyable, original or eloquent.  But it is long, it is whole, and it is mine.  I have done something that I honestly never thought I would do, and although it was, at times, a painful endeavor, I saw it through when I didn't have to.  For that, I am proud.  (Pats herself on back.)

Some things I have learned:
  • It is not only possible to write a novel, it is possible to do so in only one month, and while sober.
  • Endings and beginnings are the hardest parts.
  • Plots are not requisite to beginning.  When in doubt, create a character, do something horrible to him or her, and then let 'er rip.
  • When you've created a person from out of thin air, you tend to feel a bit god-like.  This means that you will, inevitably, feel bad for all the horrible things you've put him or her through, however you will continue to do it just the same.
  • When you find yourself in the middle of a scene where no end is in sight, there is no shame in striking one of your characters with the sudden urge to urinate.
  • When you are close to giving up, it helps to buy yourself something wonderful.  Then hide it, and only let yourself "find" it once you are done.  (Hello, new boots.  My, but aren't you lovely!)
  • Writing a crappy book isn't so hard.  It's writing a good book that's tricky.

What now?
  • Revision, and lots of it.
  • The gym, for lo, but I am a larger mammal than I was when this month did begin.
  • A brief computer respite so that I may rest my fingers, rewet my eyes, and remember what it feels like to watch television without a laptop on my knees.
  • Microfiction.
  • Novel #2.  (Though this time, I'll begin with an actual plot in mind, and tackle it in the summer when I have a bit more free time on my hands.)

Okay, so that's that.  I'll see you in a few days, for I have no intention of writing anything in the immediate future.  



Blogger Danny Boy said...

Congratulations! Sounds painful. I started a book once. It didn't go so well, at least I don't think. I have the thing around somewhere. Never looked back at it. For some reason want to do it again sometime, but finish it. My advice, do edit it.

Blogger JMW said...

Hey, congrats. That's an intense month of writing. Good luck on the edits, and on the summer novel....

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go urinate.

Congratulations to you! A novel in a month is a seriously impressive feat!

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