No, I haven’t finished a novel. Don’t get your hopes up.
What I have been doing is attempting NaNoWriMo14. I first attempted NaNo a good few years ago, when I was in 6th Form, I believe. My dad successfully wrote the novel he’d been thinking about for years, I failed miserably. After that, I didn’t try again, and didn’t think I would bother, frankly.
It’s now 2014, I have another failed novel under my belt – although I have a good 20,000 words of it which may one day be used once I work out what the fuck the plot might be – and an annoyingly productive writing buddy (while I was trawling to 20,000 words of incoherence, he managed this) who suggests that NaNo14 might be worth a punt.
This time round, we planned. I learned from various colleagues over the years, and the writing of ****; planning scene by scene, at least mostly, really helps when trying to hit a certain wordcount and make progress that you can actually measure. So I put together a kind of scene by scene, or at least Important Stuff That Needs To Occur and Character Development Too plan. I set myself a target of 1500 words a day, to hit 45,000 words at best, but expecting that I would hit 1200 and therefore 30,000 instead. Which seemed fair. This doesn’t feel like a huge novel.
Yeah… there’s a theme there, isn’t there? Excitement, commitment, lack of sleep, then kind of stopping to care. I’ve written nothing on it since 19th November. Oops.
Still, I have to say that I’m actually quite pleased with my progress. For the first fortnight I set time aside almost every day to write something, and I very nearly kept it up. I found it easier to get into the rhythm of the writing each day, I enjoyed it, and I added to it in ways that I didn’t expect. For the first time in ages I felt that the story was running away with me, and I couldn’t help but carry on writing. That’s a pretty exciting feeling. And while I’m not convinced that many of the words are good, or will stay, at least I have 18,000 of the buggers to work with so that I can turn this into the story I wanted to write.
Also, although this does sound stupid, I want to finish it. Although I’m not finishing it, I want to, I know where it’s going, I still feel connected. Of course, what I actually need to do is pull my finger out and get the stuff written, but it’s progress!
So that’s why I’m adding this to Thing 2 – it’s not done yet, but by 30 maybe it will be! Wish me luck, all (and go and buy Matthew’s book!)