I just crested 40,000 words for Life in a Glass House. I’m well behind the daily count. I’ve been writing the wrong way this afternoon, starting from the beginning and filling in patches, fixing flow and dialogue, working on word choice. All useful things, but them less useful when the deadline approaching is concerned only with raw production. Better to leave the bad word choices and minor typos for the first few rounds of edits in january. Better to just follow the inescapable and obvious route left toward the conclusion of the book.
I’m still in that stump, that sense somewhere between a stupor and a slump, facing the ending of my first complete novel not with pleasure, but with trepidation. I’d thought I’d be happy to finish one, but I’m not.
The book didn’t go where I wanted. I don’t need the repeated advice about stories choosing their own paths, or that I need to let them fill out organically. I’m aware of all that. But what I have continues to be other than what I want. As such, I continue to focus not on the achievement but on the work left to do.
I have nearly all of the NaNoWriMo badges one can accrue without relying on others. The only few left are those associated not with writing but with networking and sideline cheer leading. I think my collection is full enough.
I know there’s more to do, I know that the editing process will likely take much longer than the writing process. Such is always the case when I actually have a story in mind before I start writing, it’s only ever different when I begin with nothing. But beginning from nothing can produce some of the most interesting story ideas. It’s worth the time, when I do it.
While editing, I’ll have a chance to redirect the story, to add elements and arcs that aren’t present in the text’s current form. Keeping that in mind helps with my disappointment.
I still love the story. I’m still attached to the characters and I still appreciate the month long process. I think, when I’ve had more time away from the novel, long after I’ve done the first few rounds of edits and stored the semi-finished piece away for a couple of months so that I can do the more meaningful ones, that I’ll be happy with what I’ve done, satisfied with what I’ve created.
The ambivalence will pass, but not yet. For now it’s a necessary part of writing, a part that lends to judgement and writing notes for my future self to help me better craft a novel I’d want to read. I’d like to think that my taste is discerning enough that if I manage to make the book appealing to me it will be so to at least a few other.
Time will tell, and when the book is ready for publishing perhaps you’ll be able to answer my query yourself.
Next month I’ll be focusing on short fiction and horticulture and have some activities for both I’m excited to share.
Until then, back to the page.