Novel-writing is always an interesting journey of self-discovery
June 22, 2012 § 10 Comments
I figured that the first post upon my return should really be about my novel, as in the one that I wrote during camp NaNoWriMo last August. In my very last blog post back in September 2011, I said that though I had reached my goal of 50,000 words my novel was nowhere near finished. You guys will be glad to know that the novel was finished some time after NaNoWriMo (during which I worked on the same novel too) and ended with a total wordcount of 115,316 words, which is not bad at all. Currently, it’s in the editing process though I’ve been putting that off a bit through procrastination. I do, however, hope to have a fair bit of the editing done during the
summer. Maybe that’s hopeful thinking but I suppose we’ll see how it goes. Reading back through it, it’s certainly far from the worst thing that I’ve ever written. There are some chapters that I’m actually quite fond of, some characters whom I’ve grown attached to. At the same time, there are many chapters that I cringe at, many relationships that feel underdeveloped and unbelievable. And let’s not even talk about the actual prose for most of the novel. But I suppose it isn’t bad for a first draft and hopefully after it is all polished and edited it’ll be much, much better.
Like the title of the blog post says, novel-writing is always an interesting journey of self-discovery. You never really enjoy it, or appreciate it, until the finished product is in front of you. You don’t even realise how much you learn from those 115,000 words you’ve written over the course of a few months; about yourself, your novel, your characters, even the people around you. You grow so much, both as a writer, and as a person. After a month of writing which leaves you with 50,000 words of prose, you want to do little more than scrap the piece of crap and never look at it ever again. But you don’t do that. You put it away, you go drink some tea and eat some chocolate and live a little bit of your life. Then you come back, open up that word document and facepalm at your silly mistakes and bad writing, but you also smile at the good stuff, realise that it’s not all bad, realise that it was worth it.
What did I learn from my first draft of Saoirse? I became more familiar with my stance on violence and wars and revolution. I became more aware of the different sides of conflict. I also became (at least slightly) better at writing action scenes. I found out that I’m not good at writing intimacy and should probably never attempt a serious romance. I learned that I’m not as awful at writing fantasy as I originally thought I was. I also learnt that ‘Saoirse’ is not half as bad as it could have been. And lately, as I’ve begun the editing process, I’ve realised that an unresolved subplot in the novel allows a very good set-up for a sequel.
What have you guys learned from your writing ventures?