Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I have officially done it.

I've lost my mind.  Wait, no, that's not it.  I've finished the first draft of my NaNo Novel:  Through a Mirror, Darkly.  This is the first long work I've actually come up with an ending for and made happen.  I have lots of open ended pieces I need to close out, but this is the first novel-length thing I've FINISHED.

That was my real goal during NaNoWriMo 2011:  finish what you start.

So I've done just that, and I know it needs crazy amounts of revision, and that's okay.  Really!  I don't mind!  I need to go back through it, make sure I'm consistent throughout with details and dates and all that, and fix the errors...  I need to decide what my themes are, since I seem to have a couple, and see if I can play that up.  I need to let it sit on a shelf and collect dust once I'm done with the minor edits.  I might even re-write it, but I'm not sure about THAT one yet.  I do like most of it.  A rewrite is kind of a drastic thing, but I do need to hack it to bits with a machete.  And I can't do that while it's so near and dear to my heart.  Oh, pretty little first novel draft of mine....  *Swoon!*

Anyway, so off we send National Novel Writing Month.  In comes personal editing month.  Back to my fantasy novel month, and with my success (small as it may be to some), I bring my faux wisdom:

  • Small steps, but don't get behind.  1-3,000 words every day.  Do more on the days you don't work the "real job".
  • Have a PLAN.  Figure out where this thing is going, and take it there.  Ride the waves as they come, sure, but you steer that boat your own self!  
  • Make yourself notes!  Character sketches, plot outlines, ideas for later, write them down in a separate file.
  • Speaking of files, SAVE SAVE SAVE!  And not just in one place.  Send yourself email, save on your own private blog, something.  But save!!!  The worst thing is losing all your hard work!  Don't let it happen!
  • Keep at it.  If you are having a not-writing day, set a timer for 15 minutes and do nothing else for a little while.  It's just like anything else (yoga!), once you get moving, you'll probably want to keep moving.  Work in spurts if you have to, but keep at it.
  • Take breaks!  Don't just work until your eyes bleed or you're delirious.  That doesn't make for good writing.  Take a break, take a walk, read a book, play a game, hang out with your kids, your spouse, your dog.  You'll come back to it with a new perspective, even if you don't realize it.
  • If you are on a roll, make yourself notes so you can come back and fill in blanks later.  If you can't remember what color hair your love interest has, don't stop and look.  You'll get distracted.  Type "so and so's (hair color?) locks waved in the wind," and keep going.  Fill it in later when you are editing.
  • And finally, write first, edit later.  You have permission to re-read, but leave it alone!  Edit later.  If you can't stand to look at something, change the font to white, so it is still there if you decide to look at it again.
Okay, there I go pretending I know what I'm talking about again.  But I've just come off of it.  I do know.  I'm in your shoes.  *nod*

So, let's get back to it, NaNo or no NaNo!  I'll be starting up the flash fiction challenges again on Friday!  I'll give us all a day off to decompress first.  :)

And just for fun, my final draft Word Cloud, from Tagxedo!

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