This will never become a book.

2012 September 2 Sunday


Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 22:00

Camp NaNoWriMo lasted for 31 days, and I wrote something on every day.  I started with an idea, not even a plot, just a scenario and a character, and from that I built a world.  It eventually became a story, and I now have a draft of 50,256 words (more or less) which could very well become a real novel one day.  For now, I bask in the winner’s circle.

It’s funny how important this milestone is to me now.  When I first heard about NaNoWriMo many years ago, I didn’t understand how there could be so many winners.  What kind of contest was this?  What could all those people win?  When I signed up for my first year, but cranked out less than 22k words by the end of the month, I didn’t feel like I had lost.  I wasn’t in a competition with anyone else, and I didn’t go into it with any expectations.  The community did such a good job of making me feel special just for giving it a try, that I never felt like I had let myself down.  I had accomplished all that I wanted to, which was just to see what would happen if I tried to be creative, and to have fun doing so.  Back then, winning had no real meaning for me.

Now my desktop wallpaper is a winner’s certificate.  My browser’s home page is a winner’s badge.  After years of trying and failing — and saying it didn’t really matter anyway — reaching that 50k finish line has taken on a new meaning.  You would think that I could put the feeling into better words, now that I’m a real writer.  *wink*

I hope my novel has a future.  For one thing, I need to think of an actual ending!  To be honest, when I was typing on that last day, and checking my word count every 15 minutes, I was not trying to end the entire story arc.  I just wanted to hit my deadline.  I stopped in the middle of a scene, with the tension building.  I reached a climax with a great reveal, but didn’t give the characters time to react to it.  The forces of good and evil were poised to confront one another, but I stopped writing.  I have no idea what should happen next!

With my official status as a winner, I am entitled to a discount off Scrivener software.  I hear great things about it, and the price seems worth it to me.  For all four NaNoWriMo attempts, I’ve gone in without an outline, and I finally have come out with an appreciation for structure.  My novel* is a rambling stream of nuggets in need of better organization.

*(wow, it sure feels strange to use that phrase.  “My novel” sounds so pretentious, and premature, but “my draft” lacks a sense of pride.  A draft is something I could easily put in a drawer and forget about, but a novel begs to be completed.  I even bought a USB memory stick on a strap which says MY*NOVEL with the NaNoWriMo logo on it.  I’ll bet I would look really pretentious wearing it as a bracelet.)

So now I need to reassess my goals for this blog.  Writing something every day is still a good idea, as I need a bit of discipline in my life.  I could continue with random essays, unscheduled bits of fiction, and the themes about reality I’ve used in the past.  My head is still swimming with the subjects I spent the past month writing about, but all the advice I read says I should walk away from the novel and take a break before thinking about rewrites.

I don’t know what comes next, but for now: WINNER!



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