You may recall that back at the beginning of May, I announced that I was planning to write a novel in 30 days.
Well, since no one asked it’s the official halfway point, I figured I’d give a little update on how it’s been going.
So far, I’ve written approximately 22,500 words. That’s roughly 45% of the 50,000 word target, or, about 1,500 words per day.
Not bad, right? Except that it’s all total and complete garbage.
Guys, I’m not kidding. The stench of rotten manuscript wafting from my minimized items right now is almost too much for me to handle. I call it “Eau de Broken Dreams and Misguided Aspirations”
The thing is full of plot holes, it’s totally unbelievable, and I currently have four different characters named Sergei. But that’s OK. The goal of this exercise is simply to get my words on paper- not to fuss with silly things like grammar, sentence structure and plotline.
I won’t lie, it’s been pretty painful so far. I kind of want to kill myself/ throw my computer out the window/ eat 10 lbs of chocolate/ run away and never come back. But like a phoenix from the ash, out of my misery rise a few key lessons to be learned from all of this. Like…..
Writing Fiction Is Hard
Sometimes, I feel like the entire right side of my brain has been completely inactive for the past 10 years. Sure, I use it occasionally to write blog posts, but for the most part, it just sits there, dormant, letting its domineering evil stepbrothers logic and rational thought do all the work.
Writing a novel feels like grabbing the creative side of my brain with both hands, shaking it violently and waking it the hell up. As expected, for the first few days, ol’ righty remained slow, lethargic and low-functioning – sort of like me before I’ve had my coffee in the morning.
But eventually it came around. Sort of. I’m still dealing with the giant hurdle of coming up with 50,000 words of original material in a ridiculously short period of time.
Writing Fiction Is Fun!
(Did I convince you with that exclamation point? No? I didn’t really convince myself, either.)
Once you get past the fact that novel-writing is destroying much of your will to live, there are actually a few good things. Writing can be really fun when you’re not inhibited by pesky little parameters like “truth” and “accuracy”. Plus, it’s sort of cool to live vicariously through your characters. My main character is smart, sassy, and tells people off all the time- something I wish I could do more often.
Plus, no matter how much it sucked, I still feel like this whenever I get my daily words in:
You’re Going to Run Out Of Ideas.. and That’s Where the Ninjas Come In
No matter how hard I tried, I still found it tough to come up with the recommended 1,667 words a day. I Googled some suggestions, and discovered something called a “Plot Ninja”.
A plot ninja is something you drop into the plot whenever you are at a loss for ideas. Traditionally, this has taken the form of actual ninjas who come crashing into the scene, disrupting things, but it can really be anything you want. My plot Ninja so far has been my main character going for drinks with her best friend. She’s pretty much an alcoholic at this point, but it’s also resulted in a few interesting scenes that never would have ended up in the plot otherwise.
When In Doubt.. Make it up
Another thing I didn’t anticipate was how much research was involved in novelling. Part of my story takes place in Russia, and the first few days, I spent hours Googling everything from typical Russian surnames to what year the Kremlin was built. Eventually, I decided to either leave what I didn’t know blank, or just make something up and go back and fix it later. Currently, the characters in my story consume only caviar, drink an excessive amount of vodka, and wear fur hats everywhere. That’s accurate, right?
Be Prepared To Hate Your Life
Not to be a Deborah K. Downer, but I have to admit that it’s extremely mentally and physically draining to write this much every day while working full-time, trying to do blog posts, keep up with my 52 book challenge and actually maintain a social life.
…………..Yes, I realize I did this all to myself, and yes I would like some cheese with that whine.
So to recap - my first 15 days of Novelling: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I don’t know what comes after that.
Question of the Day: Have you ever written a novel?
…..Any tips to keep me from strangling myself with my computer cord?
nominated myself was nominated for Funniest Blog in the 2013 Badass Blogging Awards! I would love you long time if you’d please take a second and go vote for me!