Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reflecting On A Major Accomplishment

I wrote a novel in a month?
Yes I did. 

This accomplishment is still sinking in and doesn’t quite seem real but I’m really proud of myself.  My project wasn’t an official National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project because I had been outlining it for a long time but I decided to use the month to write it.  I finished my first novel in October, took a few days off and then turned around and started the NaNoWriMo project.  It’s a new story but with the same characters as my first novel.  The first novel had a distinct ending but I wasn’t quite done with my characters and their story.  While writing the second novel, I think I figured out a way to weave the stories together.  I’m still not sure about that but I’m glad I was able to write it in order to work out some of my ideas.

How did I do it?  I already try to write an hour a day so I kept up with that goal.  I can get a lot done in an hour and sometimes, I have so much fun writing that I keep going.  I also schedule writing marathons where I’ll write until the early hours of the morning.  One night I stayed up until six o’clock in the morning.  I only do that when I can sleep in the next day because it takes a lot out of me and takes a couple of days to recover but it feels pretty great to get a lot done.

The one thing that keeps me going is that I acknowledge and accept the fact that my first draft is going to be crap and I don’t strive for perfection.  If I were to edit as I write, I’d be working on the same project forever.  If I write something that I’m not sure about, I will leave it in with a note about what makes me concerned about it.  No one is allowed to see my first draft.  The draft is what I use to get the idea out of my head and into the world.  After the rewrite is when I will let people read it for feedback.

What’s next?  Every part of me wants to start the editing process today but I’m really trying to let the story settle a bit.  I have some ideas that include everything from name changes of the characters to shaking up the plot a bit.  I’m also considering taking the two novels and combining them into one story.  I’m trying to let the story rest for two weeks before I get started.  I’m also a little shaky about writing novels.  I’m used to screenplays where the format is fast and quick and you don’t have to describe everything.  I fell in love with the format when I took a short story class and read several novels for my classes in my last term in school.  I’m kind of learning as I go but every class I have taken has taught me about how to write and how to tell a good story. 

I am hoping by this time next year to either have the novel(s) published or have a release date.  I’m not done yet but I have completed one very large step.

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