I took part in last year’s nanowrimo, for the first time, and although I joined only during the last 10 days, I actually managed to get the 50,000 words done. Yay! And I liked my story. I still do actually, only, there’s a little problem…
The extreme writing marathon made me feel a bit “off” writing right after, and with the Christmas holidays and all, I just didn’t manage to get my head around sitting down and working on the story. So I spend those months doing research (spending hours googling “How to organize my novel research” but some actual research as well) and trying to find a way to put it all together in a way that wouldn’t make me end up with three huge binders full of scraps of paper, printout, illegible scribbled schemes and drawings (I’m NOT gifted when it comes to drawing), and the more I worked on it, the more I felt like I was moving away from the story itself.
I did find one very basic way of keeping organized, by saving the information in different word files, concerning characters, location and other. Yes, adding an “other” file is a very dangerous thing, I know. But it helps me keep track of things I want to keep in mind while writing, and that I often realized I had already researched some weeks earlier, only printed it out and put it somewhere I couldn’t possible find before the book was written and put away in a drawer. So far, so good.
Then I decided I’d need to do some editing first, as the writing I did during the nanowrimo was not exactly bad as such, but a bit erratic and unstructured, due to the utter stress of getting between 5 and 7,000 words written on some days. Crazy. Which made for frustrating and crazy editing as well. And as I was editing, I realized that although I knew where my story would end, I had no clue as to how to get there. And I’m already at 60,000 words, and the whole crucial stuff has yet to come. It’s not like I’ve been babbling on for two-thirds of the story, but it is building up the different stories, the links between characters, giving small glimpses of their true selves, and now, well, it’s about time the real action started.
And I’m clueless. Clueless and wordless as to where to start and what to put on paper. I did put together a sort of scheme of what should happen over these next pages, the evolution of each character, the things they will do, and I don’t have any writer’s block as such, but it just seems overwhelming. And I’m scared that I will screw the story up because I feel the urge to just “get it done!”
So although nanowrimo was a great experience and helped me get my story on the page, I could slap myself for starting something so huge without any research about my characters beforehand and for letting it lie untouched for so long. The longer I stay away from actually writing the story, the more I’m drawn into the editing mode, and find it hard to get back to that wonderful creative state where you just write wildly whatever crosses your mind (more or less). I feel like I’m ready to move onto the next set of editing, of real editing (I’m two seconds away from googling “best ways to edit your novel” once again, for the gazillionth time) and this part of going one step back is going to be really tough, especially as I have so much other work-related writing to do right now that makes me feel like all the juice is gone.
But I’m certainly not giving up, not this close to anything that looks like a novel with an actually not all too bad plot. And I’m crazily wondering whether I should simply do another semi-marathon like sprint next week, and write some 5,000 words each day so I can get to the end of the story without losing the thread of it each time. My very own personal “get it done already” March sprint.