409poetry As for most of you who took part in the adventure, NaNoWriMo was a bit of a tough cookie, but not because of the daily writing goal, rather because I had just finished a really wonderful but time-consuming Writing Course and then took on the challenge to write half a novel in … 10 days. I got my word count in, all of the 50,000 words, but now I feel deflated.
I’m – as every time I’ve finished a novel – scared to open the file again and start reading what I’ve written, afraid of what I’ll find there, that I won’t love it and that it doesn’t fit the image I had in my head when thinking about the story. And then of course, last but not least, I’m terrified of the process of editing it.
I’ve shared my experience on editing in this blog a few times (the one novel I edited and sent in never got published… just saying…so I didn’t even bother editing the sequel to it). And while I’ve been trying to catch up on life that I’d put behind these last two months, I’ve been unsure about how to proceed now. On one hand, I think that if I find a strategically intelligent way to attack the next phase, I’ll be able to turn this novel into something good. And I’m actually quite relieved that my first novel didn’t get any attention, because I’m too much into this story now and have grown fond of my characters. So much that I feel bad for not attending to them since NaNoWriMo finished. I feel that I owe it to this story to finish it and polish it, the way it deserves to be, and simply to get a grip and get it done.
So today, I’ve made the decision to get a grip and attack that monster, for two reasons :
First, I read a nice post by Jessica Forest Halsey over at 409poetry who shared her plan for editing the writing from NaNoWriMo, and the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more it looks like the perfect idea. I mean, I am a notebook lover, and I can find a gazillion notebooks with one of every shape and colour for the specific content and mission, but my experience after the revision of my first novel was disastrous. I’m now sitting on two huge binders and 5 notebooks, and can’t seem to find a way to find out the info that I need at any time. It’s a mess. A lovely mess, but really not helpful at helping me organize my forgetful and chaotic mind. So I feel like I’m going to try and follow these tips and set up a binder to get through the different parts of editing.
Second (and this one really convinced me), I was so exhausted yesterday after a long and heavy weekend that I thought I’d finally allow myself some me-time and read one of the many books waiting on my nightstand. A simple thriller, nothing too intellectual, just a good read. It had good critics on it, by renowned authors, so I was convinced it would be perfect to get my mind off of other things. Only it didn’t. Already somewhere through the first pages, I was annoyed by a weird typo mistake. You’ll have to understand, that due to my work I am sort of naturally averted to spelling mistakes, or simply lazy mistakes caused by inattention. I then checked the publisher, which is also not exactly a no name, and was confused. I gave it another try and now I’m halfway through the book, and getting more and more annoyed. There the name of a bakery shop – a French name – was badly reproduced, only to be correctly spelled a few pages on. How lazy is that? How can such a sloppy mistake pass by the editors and proof-readers? I mean, I have a hard time seeing my own mistakes (just had a partial heart attack while scrolling through my blog and seeing some made by my own hand!), so I get that it gets past you the first few times. But that added to the fact that the writing is simply bad, that the characters still don’t resonate with me and that the plot is flat, really annoys me.
And if such a book can be on the Amazon monthly best-selling list, or get critics from really amazing thriller authors, and make it to the critics page on NY Times, I can do it, right? I guess I’m back to one of the reasons that got me convinced to take writing seriously. If one of these books actually made it all the way to my local bookstore in the middle of nowhere (ok, so it was on sale at half price – I start to understand the reason why), why shouldn’t I be able to do it? Or at least attempt it?
The challenge now will be to find a way to make this work with my life at the moment, because writing 6,000 words a day or taking 2 hours to work on a novel is simply not an option anymore, especially after having neglected everything for two months. So I’m going to have to map out a really solid and fool-proof schedule that will not give space for any short cuts (on editing issues that I most despise) and also not make me lose interest, which I tend to do if I dwell too long on a project. It’s that attention span issue, where I’ll be like “Ooooh, that’s a great idea!” for a few days, all fire and flame, and then, there comes another idea along and I’ll forget about the first one and think “Ooooh, that’s an exciting project!” Which explains the dozens of unfinished writing and crafting projects all over my house, with cupboards full of crocheted and knitted items that would make great brooches, bracelets and rings if I ever got down to finish them…
So, right now I’m still plotting in my mind, but plan to set it up tomorrow morning. Even if it is only going to be 30 minutes spent on scrolling through my draft. It will be something, baby steps, one day at a time.