Friday, November 8, 2013

Novel Writing Update

I mentioned last week that my goal is to write a novel this month. I'm assuming that most of you are dying to know how I'm doing with this goal, so here I am to share my first week update.

You can see my NaNoWriMo word count widget above. For whatever reason, the NaNoWriMo official goal for every participant is 50,000 words. Apparently that is the suitable length of any legitimate novel (seems mighty arbitrary to me) but I guess it's a worthy enough goal, so that's what I'm shooting for. To write 50,000 words in one month, I should be averaging 1,667 words a day, which would mean by the end of today I should have written 13,336 words. As you can see, I'm a little behind. More like a lot behind.

But let's look at the positive. I've written over 8,000 words! This is the longest story I've ever written in my life to this point, and I'm pretty proud of those 8,000 words. And I'm pretty surprised at how much fun I'm having. Just the other day I caught myself thinking, "Huh, this story is getting interesting. I'm excited to find out what happens next." And then I had the crashing realization that wait, I have to COME UP with what happens next.

But anyway, this whole process is teaching me a lot about myself as a writer. It's been pretty interesting to learn this stuff, and maybe some of you are interested in my personal reflections, and maybe some of you are not, but I'm going to write them down here anyway.

1. When we heard Brandon Sanderson speak a few weeks ago, he said that there are two kinds of writers in the world: gardeners and architects. Gardeners discover the story as they go along, whereas architects have the entire story mapped out before they write a single word. Sanderson is an architect, and that is why his intricate stories are so well crafted. He knows where he's going before he begins. I have discovered that I am... a gardener. I spent the first four days of this month hemming and hawing over an outline, trying to decide just how I wanted to tell this story, and I got nowhere. I finally just decided to open up a stupid word document and start typing something. And, lo and behold, the words just keep coming. I still have no clear idea where this story is going, but I'm discovering it as I go. Kind of exciting.

2. I am completely uncreative and unoriginal. I already admitted before I began this project that I had no ideas for a novel, and so I just decided to do what Disney has done with so much success, and rip off the Brother's Grimm. Yep, I'm doing a fairy-tale retelling. Super original, I know, but at least now my novel has some chance of being half-way readable. Also, apparently I can only write in cliches. I mean, it's terrible. I have entire paragraphs where every single sentence includes a cliche. So yeah, queen of cliches here. It's bad.

3. So right now this story is set in some vague, unidentified European country (although it's looking more and more like France, the more I write) and the time period is some undetermined historical period of the past. This means that a lot of my descriptions are vague, and my dialogue is ridiculous. It's like I'm trying to channel my favorite historical authors (Austen, Dickens, Shakespeare), and the result is this completely pretentious, flowery, overly-wordy dialogue that is probably horrible to read, but I must say is so much fun to write. I just giggle over getting to use words like "fortnight." Honestly, this thing would never make it past an editor.

4. This whole process has been easier than I thought. Now, I might not be saying this next week when I hit a wall and find I have nowhere to go with my story (because, like I said, I really don't know where I'm going). But for right now, I'm completely surprised at how much I've been able to write during my son's naptimes. I can punch out a 1,000 words an hour, more if I'm actually focused. Part of the ease is the fact that I'm not worried about actually making it good. I'm not going back through and editing, I'm not stressing over whether some editor would actually publish this. I'm just writing to write, and it's been fun. Now, to actually meet the 50,000 word goal, I'm probably going to have to start neglecting things like housework and social engagements, and that might not be so much fun, for me or my family (my husband told me I wasn't allowed to write after dinner tonight, and I kind of got huffy about that, but I suppose it is Friday night, or something like that) but we'll see how it goes.

Okay, that's enough rambling for now. I'll be back next week with another riveting update about how my little novel is coming along.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for posting this update! I am absolutely fascinated by your process and your honesty! Good luck!