Novel – the Boss Level of Writing

This post goes out to Katy Day for telling me about Camp NaNoWriMo, which couldn’t come at a better time, seeing as I’d already decided to write a novel this month. So I started about a week early but I intend to finish by the 23rd. And I will end up writing 50,000 in June because I suspect the complete first draft of this baby’s gonna be more like 75,000. (Reading back I realise my earlier estimate was 90,000. The truth is, I have no idea how long this is gonna be until I’ve written the thing. Can’t tell the future, guys, I’m sorry.)

Turns out writing a novel is hard. Way harder than a short story and they’re not exactly easy to write. Writing anything’s hard, I guess, but novels…that’s a whole new level. The boss level, if you will.

It’s OK, though, because this is a first draft. Repeat after me: you can fix anything but a blank page. It’s OK that there’s a serious structural snag (I missed out a month by accident and I think that’s going to cause a lot of issues later, such as two full moons in July…but I’ll just deal with that when I have to) and there’s problems with pacing and a whole lot of terrible writing going on. In a way, I’m really getting into the whole writing badly thing. If a cliché pops into my head, I write it down, no-matter how cringe-worthy. 80% of my dialogue is ping-pong. There’s hardly any description. All the narration seems to consist of characters looking at each other in various ways (staring, glaring, glancing…). Duncan does nothing but frown. It’s becoming something of an on-going joke for me. Uh-oh, Duncan’s frowning again! I’m even putting in adverbs (although I drew the line at ‘sheepishly’. Just couldn’t bring myself to write the word. Maybe it’ll sneak in later.)

In a way, I’m getting into the bad writing much more than the novel itself. This might be a bad sign. I had hoped I’d become sort of immersed in this world I’d created, to the point that I wanted to write it. All the time. This has not happened. Although, I am enjoying it more now the plot’s getting going. And I’m deviating a little from my plan. I was worried that wouldn’t happen – worried because I believe that a novel doesn’t really take off until what you write surprises you. (Look at me talking about writing novels like this isn’t my first one!)

In other news, I’m going camping in Fort William on Friday, with my lovely boyfriend, for the Mountain Bike World Cup. This means I will not post anything until Monday or Tuesday. It also means I’ll have something to talk about, other than this novel, when I do.



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