Note: This will be the last blog entry of 2018, and the last entry before the site goes through a major redesign for the new year. Hope you enjoy!
So here’s the bad news: I didn’t win NaNoWriMo this year.
In theory, I could’ve found the energy to write those 9,000 words in three days–maybe an epilogue, maybe a short story. But the truth was that I was running on nothing more than coffee and momentum, and I was totally burned out by the time I wrote THE END. It also didn’t help that I wasn’t totally happy with my output; unlike Nine Years Away, this story went through a lot of detours in spite of my thorough planning, and all I was doing is writing for the sake of getting it done.
But isn’t that the point of NaNo? you ask. You’re supposed to have a shitty first draft at the end of it all.
Yes, but this is the shittiest first draft that I have ever written, and that’s not even counting the draft for my first novel. This is the first time that I really have to put a lot of distance between myself and my manuscript, no matter how badly I want to edit everything. Think the editing process for Nine Years Away was bloody? Wait until I get my hands on the plot holes in this one. (Seriously, did I really need that second sex scene?)
But I learned a lot of lessons along the way. I learned how to stop and reflect on what I was doing; I couldn’t just do plot, plot, plot without questioning character motivation and thematic repercussions. I learned that I can’t force two people to fall in love unless I’ve shown my readers a good reason why they should. I learned that I had a lot of biases still left over from my past lessons as a writer, and I needed to confront them if I was going to continue with writing romance. I learned that I should let my main characters have all the good things, and also to dispatch my antagonist in such a way that they, too, have to confront their own demons. And I learned so much–so freaking much–about motivation, and how they can take a plot from boring to sensational.
Thus ends my writing life for the year, and I can’t wait to start taking notes again when I edit in January. Until then, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a glorious holiday season.