One of my strengths as a writer is knocking out a good first draft. When you’re working for yourself, it’s good to know where you work best, and I’m at my best with the blank page. I write quickly, the writing isn’t terrible, and the plots have a lot of potential. If that were all there was to writing, I’d be home free. But my big weakness comes in the rewriting stage. Perhaps this is because everything I love about writing, exploring a narrative, discovering who characters are, resolving the little puzzles that come from taking a story to its conclusion, are muted in the rewriting process. Here my job is little more than finding better ways to say everything I said already.
It is no surprise then that my previous NaNoWriMo attempts have gone untouched after the November deadline has expired. This year, I resolve to do better. A few years ago NaNoWriMo showed me the benefits of finishing that first draft of a novel, in 2014 I am determined to solve the mystery of turning that first draft into something worth sharing. It will be tougher than the short fiction previously published, but it is a hurdle I have to overcome.
It helps that I have a lot of faith in the story. I went into NaNoWriMo last year a little unprepared. The idea came half recycled from a plot that had been kicking around my head for some time. I simplified it, got a few details straight in my head and leapt in on the first of November without really plotting it out. I had a loose idea of the arc from start to finish, but over the month I added subplots and supporting characters that I found fascinating. By the end of the month I was forced to wrap up several plots much more quickly than I anticipated, and I’ve been itching to get back to the story and really expand the ideas.
I’m not setting myself a deadline this time. Tackling the first draft in 30 days was strenuous enough, this time the story needs space to breath and stretch out its limbs a bit. There are other projects too that can’t be abandoned. I intend to write a follow up to The Octopus of Suspense this year, hopefully before the end of March. My work was sporadic in 2013, this year I’d like to fill my time with more writing. More than anything, I want to avoid long stretches without working. I don’t know if the novel will be ready to see the light of day by the end of the year, but I’m certainly aiming for it.
If you did NaNoWriMo this year, or in the past, I’d love to hear if you’ve revisited your work since then and how you found the process?