Tuesday, December 6, 2016
So, NaNoWriMo went well. I managed to hold it together for the last week and in fact finished a couple days early. Well, I passed the 50,000 word mark early, I made some changes to the ending a few times right up to November 30th.
This is the first complete story I have written in as long as I can remember. I have started hundreds, written the middles of many more, though they didn't have beginnings or endings. But from beginning to end, this is the first I can remember since I graduated from high school.
Finishing this story gave me just about the best feeling of satisfaction I have ever gotten all by myself. I think that the advice that NaNoWriMo gives, that of quantity over quality, for the first draft is one of the most important things you can learn. Speaking as someone who HATES everything I write I needed to take that to heart. I needed to allow it to stink, to get it finished at all costs.
The deadlines helped as well; breaking it down to 1667 words a day helped a lot. Sure there were days I didn't make that goal, but there were days that I hit 5000 words. Knowing it had to be done - even if I was the only one that cared about that deadline - made me sit down at the keyboard and write when I would certainly have rather been reading or watching TV.
Now, though, it's finished and the hard part starts. Trying to turn it into something that I do not think stinks like a bag of dead turtles. Don't get me wrong, there are parts that I like, some bits I like a lot, but as a rule, it needs a lot of work. The biggest problem I have here is that, having not written anything completely since high school - which also was before I even knew something like editing existed - I have no idea how to edit my way to a second draft.
Fortunately I have a friend who has a Master of Arts in English, he can make sure that the sentences are complete and don't run on. He can make sure I have not murdered the comma or forgotten the semi-colon. What he can't do however is help me make it a good fantasy story. For that I am going to need to find someone else who, while still being a writer, also has a basis in fantasy to help with the actual story. Which parts are too cliche, which are not clear enough, which are too blatantly stolen from some other story. You know, the usual.
I guess that's what the What's Next months are for in NaNoWriMo. January and February are supposed to be when you take the next steps, perhaps I can find someone during that time to help out. If not, well, I will have to do it myself. I know the story will be weaker for it, but I certainly can't give up on it now.
When I get it into a better shape (take this as meaning readable by anyone other than family) I will probably post it here, serialized, over the course of a couple months to see if anyone has any suggestions. Till then, if you won NaNoWriMo then congratulations, if you didn't win, then keep working on it, if you never started, then look for Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July.