Saturday, November 03, 2007

I Finished the Novel

August 30th to November 3rd. About a month and a week too long for NaNoWriMo, but still pretty impressive, I think. The final count was 477 pages. 30 chapters and an epilogue.

There'll still be editing to do, of course, but I'm satisfied that the plot is complete. It's called If Memory Serves and it's a magical love story. That's pretty much still all I'm going to say about it.

Yesterday, I had only 2 pages left to write and I knew it, which left me time to do certain things that I haven't done in the last two months. Like a load of dishes.

Some things I learned about or while writing a novel, in no particular order:

1. My husband is a saint. Never once did he complain as our house drifted into general disarray. He did tons of errands that I normally would have done, but refused to, as I had to get home to write. He allowed me to half-listen through tons of conversations when I was obviously thinking about the book. He listened to my vague but enthusiastic ramblings daily, though I never did tell him anything about what I was writing at all. He still refers to it as my 'sci fi porn.' Thank you, Thomas.

2. Copious and careful notes are absolutely necessary. I had a huge running summary of every chapter that had been completed and all my thoughts for future and in progress chapters. This was immensely helpful if I was going to organize a major plot twist and/or change, as I had quick reference for all the places certain ideas had appeared. Also, there were many things that didn't get used where I thought they would, but because they were still in my notes, I remembered them to use later.

3. You have to just let it go. I tried never to know what was going to happen more than two chapters ahead. Until I was actually in the last few chapters, I had no idea how it was going to end. I think this kept me true to the story--I wasn't overly committed to plans I'd had from the beginning--but also kept me interested. I think often I stop writing because I just get bored. I know the story inside out and backward and everyone else should too, I seem to feel.

4. I suck at writing settings. Changing locations was the hardest part of writing this, for me. I much prefer dialogue. Though my characters are always---
--interrupting one another.

5. Also, I need to enter an Adverbs Anonymous program. I know that I use way too many adverbs, and I've spent countless hours weeding them out. They're just so...descriptive.

6. Under no circumstances should anyone try to write a novel that moves along a day-to-day chronology. I wrote the first 20 chapters as 7 consecutive days and then realized that the date I'd set up for my big final scene was two weeks in the future according to the timeline of the story. This made for big problems.

7. I still don't know where story ideas come from. I was absolutely possessed by this story--obviously, since I wrote every single day for two months, sometimes for 7 hours at a stretch. And though I'm taking notes for my next project, it's not the same. I don't expect to charge along at such a furious pace.

8. I can do this. I did it once, and I'll do it again.


Amanda said...

go Megs go! that is awesome!

I need to be in Adverbs Anonymous, too. Whenever I bring something to my poetry group, the first thing people cross out are most of the adverbs. In the case of poetry it's because the sound of -ly adverbs is kind of funny, especially piled up, and much of the time there's no reason you can't just use the adjective form instead. But still I find myself throwing them in there, where they bog things down.

Anyway, as someone who feels completely unable to write a novel, I am impressed both by your accomplishment and your observations about the process.

ashley said...

Congratulations!!! I am so proud of you! You really let yourself get carried away! That's so awesome. And it gives me hope for myself.

I can't wait to read it! I hope you and Thomas doing something wonderful to celebrate!

Andrea Q. said...

WOOHOO!!!! That is awesome and wonderful news. Congratulations!!!!!!!

velocibadgergirl said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Dude, that's so awesome. :D

Gina said...

Yay yay for you!

Jonathan said...

Congratulations on finishing it!

You now have that silent piece of ammunition stored away when somebody tells you they are a writer... YOU have written a book.