Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Month As A Novel Prisoner

I read a cartoon once in which a husband was consoling his crying wife.  He said, "Honey, I know you really wanted to win that Pulitzer Prize in literature, but I think you need to write the book first."

The National November Writer Month, NaNoWriMo, pushed me over the edge last month and forced me to write the sequel to my young adult novel, Red Nectar.  The goal was to write a complete novel, 50,000 words, in November. Thank you to every person involved in that glorious company!!!

There were no excuses for me to make each evening as to why the book had not been worked on for days at a time.  I could not say that the kids needed me to make elaborate dinners, that the baseboards needed cleaning, or the dog needed a third walk for the day.  Could not even say the cats needed to be pet for another half an hour.

There was only word count to fulfill every single last day of that entire month. It was relentless. Write, write, write.  Do not move my rear end from the seat or allow a moment of fingertips from straying away from the keyboard.  Eat? That could be done between chapters for three minutes at a time. And who needs to shower when you don't go outside and sweat?  My arms may have been frozen in place for unnaturally extended time periods, but letters were forming on the screen.

Every night came the ritual of updating the new word count onto the NaNoWriMo.  There was no hiding from the mockery that came when I had once again not met my self-imposed daily goal. The graph shouted out how far below the line I was in being able to finish on time.  By the last two days of November, I would have needed to write 4,000 words a day to be a victor.

But yesterday, I did finish.  Because I was able to get so close at the end of the month, the motivation was high for me to stay within the depths of writer's purgatory and complete a rough draft of Black Licorice, second part of the trilogy of books about Emily, telepathic teen living in a world that will torture and even kill those with her abilities.

Yey! I did it!

And not only did I succeed, I learned a new way to write that I will continue.  In simply writing the first draft without editing what I did the night before, I remained a part of the story. There was no stopping to think of what would happen next.   I did not worry, fret, or grovel at the mountain of mistakes a rough is prone to.  I just wrote.

Now I can go back and have a book to edit and revise and make super pretty.  There are only improvements to make on an imperfect structure.  Do you get the way this frees me up?!  The structure is already there!!!

Bless you demanding, whip carrying, sadists from NaNoWriMo. You are beautiful creatures in deed.

Heather Leigh

No comments:

Post a Comment