Monday, December 2, 2013

The November that Was

Holy cow, it's December now.

November was a lost month to me. These last few weeks slipped past me in a haze of influenza nastiness (seriously people, get your flu shots! I had to learn the hard way, but fortunately everyone else in my family got theirs), holiday travel craziness, and the all-consumingness that was writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. But, speaking of that project:

I did it! I wrote a 50,000+ word novel in one month. True, I didn't finish until 11:15 PM last Saturday after a long flight home from our Thanksgiving festivities, but I did it.

And I have never been so glad to be finished with a project.

In no particular order, here are my likely rather uninteresting reflections about writing a novel in a month:

-No one will ever read this book. It is terrible, and I freely admit that. There were times in the middle of writing this that I was so bored, and hated it so much that I just considered giving up.

-That being said, once it was finished I realized my novel had all sorts of potential. Like I mentioned last time, I'm a discovery writer, which means when I got to my final scene, I had this epiphany about how everything should fit together. The problem was, I should've been building toward that ending through the whole book, but I didn't know the ending until I wrote it. So, that was annoying. In order to get this novel into a readable form, it would take months and months of intensive editing. If writing a novel in the first place was a daunting project, the thought of editing it frightens me to my core.

-This story has all sorts of gaping holes and missing scenes. It wasn't until I was in the shower after submitting my 50,300 final words that I realized I'd forgotten to write the most important scene. You guys, my two main love interest characters NEVER KISS! I had been building up to this kiss scene through the whole book, and then when it got to that part, I just had so much conversation going that I forgot to have them kiss! How stupid and unromantic is that? Like I said, this thing would need some major editing to get into a readable format.

-On a related note, I am not good at action scenes, but I discovered that I love writing dialogue. Seriously, there were multiple times when I was like Hm, I need another 1,000 words before the next action scene, let's have them sit around and talk! And so I'd just start a random conversation and 2,000 words later, I had learned all these new and amazing things about my characters. So I like writing dialogue, but I'm not sure how well that lent itself to the story. Is it boring to read about people sitting around a camp fire talking? Because there is A LOT of that in my novel.

-My writing style is heavily influenced by whatever book I happen to be reading at the moment. I read four books during my whole writing project (reviews are coming, I promise) and with each new book I noticed my writing style would subtly shift to reflect the author I was reading. This really gave me pause, because I think the reason I even chose to write a YA fairy-tale retelling in the first place is because that is what I've been reading so much of lately. I write what I read, which gives me even more reason to be selective about my reading choices in the future. What goes in comes out. If I want to write a great novel, I'm going to need to read great novels.

-I have an entirely new respect for authors. Seriously, I feel bad for some of my past reviews, because my novel? One star if we're being generous. Really, I'm so much more impressed with authors who come up with these creative stories, and then figure out how to tell them in unique and engaging ways. And then actually get them published. I'm completely in awe of the people I know in real life who write books, because it takes a lot of work and creativity.

-I need a break from novel writing, but I absolutely intend to do this again in the future. Maybe not a whole novel in one month, and hopefully with a story and characters that I'm a little bit more invested in, but I will write another book. If this exercise taught me anything, it's that I am capable of writing novels (whether they're actually good is another question entirely).


  1. Wow! You are amazing! I think it was worth all the pain just to get that awesome 80s-computer-game- graphic award!

  2. Oh, don't I know it. That graphic totally made it all worth it :)

  3. I'm so impressed you did it! I'll keep an eye out for your book at B&N one day. :)

    1. Ha ha. I predict B&N will long be out of business before I ever get a book on the market. Maybe in a decade or so you might find my book on some self-publishing website.