Thursday, December 1, 2022

A just like that November is over

It is December and with it NaNoWriMo comes to a close. For the entire month I ignored this blog, something I have done before but for different reasons, and not very often. During November I concentrated on drafting my novel—and ensuring that I wrote more than 1667 words per day, every day. That is the requirement to be a winner in the eyes of NaNoWriMo. And, if you are among the probably tens of thousands of winners, you can buy a t-shirt that declares you a winner. Actually, you can also buy that t-shirt if you are not a winner, probably even if you are not a writer. But that isn't the point besides I do not need any more t-shirts! While I have ignored my other hobby, embroidery throughout November, that can only be considered a good thing. I have way too many shirts with smart ass comments on.

The point of the event is for writers to write. And believe me, that is not as easy as it sounds. All the while you are sitting alone, always the best start if you want to get anything done, but with so many distractions there are some days I will write half a dozen words and with deep focus play dozens of games of Solitaire or even Candy Crush! Convincing myself that I am thinking about my story. To be fair, I am thinking about it, all the time. I even dream about it but I was not writing it down, well—not much anyway. Put a competition in front of me however and I am pulling on the bit. I have mentioned in a couple of other posts, I am very competitive. I am not a bad loser but I am a very good winner. And so, yes I can declare myself a NaNoWriMo winner. On 27th November I surpassed 50K words. I freely admit many of those words will have to be deleted during the editing phase, but more will be added...I hope.

When I started the story, actually I started it multiple times. In fact, I wrote at least three mediocre short stories before finally getting the germ of an idea that might be able to grow into a novel. I mentioned in my last post, announcing my intention to do NaNoWriMo, that I had already written a five chapter back story. That was helpful in so far as I had started to get to know my characters fairly well. It was difficult to accept that most of what I had written would never be in the final draft, but it was very necessary for me to have the information in my head, as I discovered when I started writing in earnest on November 1st. At first I thought that my idea was dumb and no one would like it. As I got into the story however, I started to enjoy it. 

I mentioned before that I had been doing Masterclasses on writing. Many of the writers I listened to talked about their characters as though they were real people, even going so far as to say they did and said things that surprised the author—their creator, the person who was actually writing the surprising words and actions. I thought that was a bit far fetched when I heard it but then it started happening to me. Another thing that happened was new people, a.k.a characters, arrived. I seriously was not expecting them and I had to get to know them. I don't think I would have experienced that had I not been frantically writing in order to win. If you are old enough you will remember the slogan, Let Your Fingers do the Walking. Same thing, well kind of. I pretty much let my fingers do the typing and let the words spill out. As I said, much of it will have to go but I do have more than the bare bones of a story I like and that is a start.

What next? Well, 50K words do not a novel make. So I have to expand that somewhat. As I read through and clean up I am removing much of the drivel, but so far I have added more than I have removed so I am hopeful. Next I will have to go through it and edit the hell out of it. Then I need some good friends to be Beta Readers. I already have my very first one lined up and willing. I have a few more in mind and have yet to approach them. I do know of some writers who asked for review and feedback only to get offended when they got it. So, what they were asking for was not feedback nor review, they were looking for praise and admiration

"A beta reader is a test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing, who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author. A beta reader provides advice and comments in the opinions of an average reader." - Wiki

It feels like such an imposition. Asking someone to read a novel, that is not yet a novel, that takes up a lot of time, but then ask that they read it with a critical eye, and finally that they give you a fair and thoughtful critique of that novel. To many, that is like asking them to tell you if your baby is ugly. They just won't do it. Of course they can't be sure you really mean, tell the truth. I am not looking for praise at this point, I do want to make it better. Better is good. Naturally, you can't make an ugly baby beautiful, but with help, you can make a good, bad or indifferent novel better, with the right feedback and before publication.

And there is the big hurdle. Publication. I have decided that I will try to find an agent, and if I am lucky enough to find one, then I will attempt to be published the traditional way. If this effort fails, I will go ahead and self publish. Many writers have gone this route and had great success. But those writers have also put a lot of money and effort into marketing that book, and themselves. Not something I have the  skillset, nor the inclination for. So, if I don't find an agent and do go the self publishing route, I will post on Facebook and give gifts of my book to many of my family and friends and let it go at that. I am not looking for fame and fortune. I just like to write.

First on the agenda is at least another 20K words that make sense and improve the story. Thankfully I am retired and I don't have to squeeze my writing time into a working day. 

By the way, sorry for complaining so much about being retired, I wrote many posts on that subject. I do still miss work, and more especially coding and my wonderful team mates, but I am not bored.

Links to posts I referenced above 

I will ban bossy - mentions my competitive nature

Online Dating - ditto 

My First NaNoWriMo - the title gives it away

Why I chose to retire  - retirement

Getting used to retirement - ditto

Retirement week 12 - ditto

...and many more on retirement that I won't bore you with.

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