Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Something Else

Okay, it's going to be a long afternoon, and possibly a long night. So I'm going to post about something not related to the election for a minute.

Saturday, Nov. 1, I started writing my third novel during the National Novel Writing Month's annual event. In 2006 and 2007 I successfully wrote 50,000 words in one month; in fact, the first year I joined late (Nov. 9) and finished the whole book (about 65,000 words) in nineteen days.

Last year's novel didn't go quite as well. I still think the concept was workable, but the main character ran away with the story, adamantly refusing to fall in love with the guy I had created for that purpose, pointing out that his notable character flaws and defects were in no way the sort of thing someone like her would either find admirable or be blind enough to overlook, and insisting on rewriting things to her satisfaction generally. This was a wholly new experience for me, and a frustrating one given that during the whole Nanowrimo event I was also undertaking my first-ever substitute blogging venture over at Crunchy Cons, writing multiple and lengthy blog posts each day and generally loving the experience. Somehow I managed to pass the 50,000 word benchmark, but I had at least two chapters to finish, and a year later I have yet to go back and straighten things out; to tell you the truth, that character still intimidates me rather, and I have no idea if I'll ever be able to write a believable ending for the story that will satisfy her.

This year I'm off to a good start: over eight thousand words so far, and a completed first chapter that went pretty well. I have yet to experience that rush of enjoyment that came on with the first novel, though, and I think that part of the reason for that is that the first novel was a concept I'd been mulling for a long time with a character I genuinely liked--that book is still the only completed manuscript I have that has publishing potential, especially given the dearth of material available for ten-to-twelve year olds (especially boys) who like space adventures, but whose parents prefer a thoroughly moral tale compatible with Christian thought (though the book isn't overtly Catholic or Christian--just ethical, so to speak).

This year's novel is more in the young adult fantasy realm than the sci-fi realm, just like last year's was (though last year's is more properly a fantasy/sci-fi crossover). Which is funny, because I prefer to write young adult science fiction, but every now and then a fantasy concept--really more like an elaborate fairy tale--will tease at my brain until I pretty much have to write the thing. I like the main characters so far, and am finding the writing easier than last time, so with any luck this will be a novel I actually finish this month--first draft, anyway; one of the cardinal rules of Nanowrimo is that one must stifle one's inner editor, and that editing is for December.

It's only November 4. If you've ever hankered after the idea of writing a whole book, start to finish, why not sign up and join Nanowrimo? If I could finish a book the year I started on the ninth, I'm sure you could finish your book--or at least get to that 50,000 word mark--by November 30, too. The point isn't to write the Great American Novel--the point is just to get started on writing, to experience what it's like to write something significant by a certain deadline, and to enjoy the process without being overly critical as to the results.

If you do sign up, I'm "Red Cardigan" over there, too. In fact, my blogging nickname originated with National Novel Writing Month, and this blog started just a couple of months after my first Nanowrimo experience; I knew I wanted to keep writing, and blogging seemed like a good way to do that. There's no telling what can happen when you take up the writing habit.

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