So it’s been three years, but I finally finished my 2006 NaNoWrimo. It’s a story I’ve been working on in one form or another since oh, about eighth grade. Don’t worry, the thing has matured as I have and I expect it to mature more yet as I edit.
In some ways I’ve finished with the easy part — the easy part many people don’t finish. What the first draft comes down to is putting your butt in the chair and advancing the plot. If something doesn’t click, you can write it out in the next scene and write a ‘note to self’ to edit it later.
But the most important part is to write. The writing won’t be done all at once (the fastest I’ve ever done a draft is 30 days, that was part of a challenge and it was hardly the length of a usual novel: 50,000 words), so the best thing is to do a little ever time you get the chance. This may mean doing the same time every day, or like I did, in between everything else. I took a spiral bound notebook with me and wrote scenes on the bus, on my lunch hour, on the train, on the weekends. I wrote a lot of other things in that notebook too, including bus schedules, phone numbers and grocery lists. Interspersed were pieces of my novel. When I got home I would transcribe the latest bit of my story into the document in my computer.
I had to write the end of the story three times before I got one I could live with. There are a lot of loose ends to the narrative and I have a feeling I know what my next NaNoWrimo subject is going to be.
Something to keep in mind about writing though: everyone works differently. Find the thing that works for you. I may take a lot of searching. I can only write about what works for me.
So the “easy” part is done: now I get to edit this big fat mess. It’s a story I’ve been working on so long a yet I still love the characters — which I take as a good sign. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford the ink/paper needed to make a hard copy…