1. Writing a novel is hard.
Okay, so I knew this already, but it’s hard in ways I didn’t expect. The story came easily enough, as did the characters and the key scenes that had to take place. The problem is all the rest.
Dialogue. Point of View. Continuity. Clarity. Back Story. And the dreaded Setting. I suck at setting. It is so important and if you choose a real place, you darn well better do your research. Research? You bet.
What is the height requirement of a Rockette? **
You’d be amazed by what I’ve looked up this week.
**Answer: Between 5′ 6″ and 5′ 10 1/2″ in stocking feet.
2. I am an incurable editor.
The whole idea of NaNo is to write with reckless abandon, either ignoring or celebrating the sheer crapiness that inevitably comes out of your head. I can do that, to an extent. However, today I deleted 459 words because they were junk. I have some pride.
I correct all spelling errors because my browser underlines them in red. I can’t ignore that. When I think of something I should add, I do it. I can’t remember my own children’s names half the time. I’m certainly not going to remember, in January, to add that super awesome part I thought of in the checkout line at Kroger that one time to the part I wrote on the night we had chicken for dinner way back in November.
3. There’s no way I’m posting this thing anywhere on Dec. 1.
“Ooh, I can’t wait to read it!” I get that a lot. Well, trust me, you can and you will. This is a massive free-writing exercise. Glorified pre-writing stuff. It’s not even a real first draft, which I wouldn’t show to anyone either. Again, I have some pride.
4. I am a creator and a listener.
Rebekah Loper, a seasoned NaNo, wrote a post asking the question, “Do you create, or do you listen?” Basically, do you decide what your characters will do and say or do you let them tell the story? My response: “I’m a creator. After all, they’re my creations. How can they do anything other than what I want them to do?” I don’t know how, but they do. I start a scene with an idea and somewhere along the way, that idea goes out the window, and I find myself in unchartered territory. I beg, “Please don’t do that. That’s not how this is supposed to play out.” Do they listen? No, they go right ahead and do it. “Okay then, but you’ll regret this when you see what happens next.” See? Listener and creator.
5. Nobody you know in “real” life wants to hear about your NaNo progress.
Honestly, I wouldn’t either if I didn’t know what NaNo was before my friend/cousin/uncle/sister started blathering on about it. I’ve decided to keep my progress to myself and anyone who happens to read my blog, is my friend on Facebook, or follows me on Twitter.
6. Writing a novel is easier than I thought.
No Muse. No bleary-eyed, middle of the night, frantic scribblings to get down that idea that came to me in a dream. I’m not drunk all the time. I’m not doing drugs, aside from healthy doses of nicotine and caffeine. I’m not depressed. I’m not mentally ill and I’m not suicidal. So, my chances of being anthologized in a future American Lit. text-book are not good. I’m okay with that.
I think a lot. I sit. I type. Grammar, spelling, plausibility.
I’m writing a novel.
It’s your turn. Anyone doing NaNo or writing a novel learn anything this week? I’d love to hear about it.