View from the Finish Line
Yes, sportsfans, I did it. I started four days late, I finished four days early. I finished. Oooh, say it again, it gives me chills; I finished. 50,000 words in less than a month. I have written a novel. This is heady, heady stuff. I took the challenge on at the insistence of my pal A, who thought it would do interesting things to my head. She was, of course, right.
- I'm an editor for a living. It was nearly impossible to wrestle my Inner Editor into the closet in order to get out of the way of the work, and let the story get written. As it was, she snuck out a few times and wreaked some havoc before I bodytackled her and got her back under control.
- It was fantastic to be on the other side of the red pen. I think this exercise has brought me some empathy that will really be helpful in the editing process with other people.
- Story is a living thing. I thought I had a clear idea about my general plot outline, characters, and themes. Only to have a subcharacter muscle his way in about 1/3 of the way through, and take over everything. Other folks have written about this phenomenon, and I'd always thought it was, I dunno, disingenuous. But no. That's really what happened.
- Writing is an emotional thing. I mean, I knew that, I write emotionally here and on my various groups all the time. But it's short-duration stuff. 50K is a sustained amount, and I'd go from the top of the world and having tons of ideas to thinking I should just pack it in because it was all crap in the course of a few pages. I felt rather like Baby-Face Nelson, actually.
- Fiction is astonishing. I am so used to working in the Land of the Verifiable Fact, that I kept wanting to research and footnote everything. Hello! Fantasy novel! No research required! That didn't stop me from hitting Wikipedia every so often anyway, so as to decorate the story line with nuggets of actuality.
- Apparently, having a writing soundtrack is critical to my process. A big shout out to the folks in the fabulous NaNoWriMo Forums, who turned me onto Corvus Corax, whose music took over my story when the rogue character did. Other soundtrack music included Loreena McKennitt, who had the grace to release a new album on Nov. 21, Boiled in Lead, Dead Can Dance, Jethro Tull, Faith and the Muse, and a tiny little bit of Johnny Cash.
- "That which can be done at any time, will be done at no time." It's a Scottish proverb. And it's the crux of the matter. I'm leaving it on my desktop permanently.
- To A, first and foremost, for goading me into it, and being right there every minute to talk me up and talk me down.
- To J, who was the godlike supportive spouse. He put up with me being basically absentee all month, he took on extra duties, and every time I checked in, he actually managed to still be encouraging, without even once asking to read it.
- To I, who pitched in to ride herd on the boyos, above and beyond.