Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Novel Number Two

Hello, everybody!

It's DECEMBER again, which means that I haven't blogged in a few months!

Ha, not really (though it's true). December means that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is over. Another novel, DONE. [Last year's blogpost about NaNo]

Well "done", as in it has 50,000 words. But this one... it's not FINISHED. I want it to be, and I won't neglect it this time. So, I've written two novels. Even though neither of them are finished, and I dislike the first one quite a bit, I feel accomplished. This year, I wrote a story that's been bouncing around in my head for a while, rather than a story I forced myself to write. It's a different feeling, and the journey to 50k was much more pleasant this time around. Despite everything else going on this month (COLLEGE APPLICATIONS, yikes!), I managed to complete the challenge once again, and I'm proud of that.

I'm not as surprised at finishing this year, having already done it. Not to say that the feeling is less than it was, but I suppose nothing is quite the same each time you do it. Like running a race for the first time... the emotions at the end are much more overwhelming than every subsequent time. It's not a bad transition, but it's an interesting contrast. I wrote a novel this month, sure, but it's only halfway complete. The story I want to tell is still lurking around the edges, building slowly. Too slowly sometimes. Hitting 50k wasn't surprising, it was expected. It was something I realized I could do, and something I needed to do for myself.

So... this year in comparison to last year.
1. This year, I was a LOT more active on the forums! I connected with people on the Elsewhere forums and those of my Home Region.
2. I attended (most) write-ins. I even helped set up a few, and dragged people into them with me, rather than people dragging ME into them! :D
3. I joined a Skype group of Nerdfighters (from the Nerdfighting & NaNoWriMo group on the Ning). These strangers, that live all over the world, word-warred with me all the time, and were a great support group. I feel like some of them are becoming really good friends of mine. A small group of us are going to collaborate on the Project for Awesome. I also met another nerdfighter in real life, and got to know a few of my own friends better.
4. The novel I wrote was fantasy, rather than realistic fiction. Last year, I tried out a completely new genre and kind of story, but this year, I stuck with the kind of story that I love to write.
5. I knew what my weaknesses were and tried to work on them. I'm TERRIBLE at dialogue, so this year, I tried to focus on making the dialogue stronger than last year.
6. My characters are largely unnamed. Last year, I found names easily, but this year... the characters exist independently of names, until I have the time to dedicate to finding the perfect names.
7. I did not have to write 5,000 words on the last day! I knew how to pace myself better, and even though I fell behind (I didn't write for five days), I was able to recover from that much quicker. I knew how to get my word count up and how to keep it moving.
8. My characters were better-developed this year. They have flaws, voices, and complicated histories. They aren't just right yet, but they're a lot closer than the characters from last year. They're more intriguing, and more independent than my characters from last year.
9. I loved my story. It was fun to write, and I honestly ENJOYED it. It wasn't an emotional test for me, because I was inventing something, rather than drawing entirely from my own emotions. The story was one that... moved, rather than staying stationary. (That probably doesn't make sense unless you're a writer.)
10. (Because this has to be an even number!) There are scenes in my novel this year that I LOVE. Words that I am proud of. The story I've written (so far) is one that I want to continue. I want to edit it and make it better, but more than anything, I truly want to finish it this time.

I've been collecting writing links and advice for the past month (unintentionally!), so I may write up a blog post sharing those soon. I may also share an excerpt from my novel, because I'm excited about it!

Once again, for the people that have helped me along this ride-- on the internet or in real life (text message or anything), THANK YOU SO MUCH! I honestly couldn't have done it without you.

<3,
-Aly