The week before November this year was spent laying in a recliner. It was the only place I was comfortable. Out of work, unable to walk because of a hip injury, I had to find something to do with myself before my brain melted. Because my brain was melting.
Two days before Nov.1,2016 I remembered a post I had seen, probably on Tumblr, this time last year. I pulled up good old Google and there it was, my savior. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) started on the first of the month. I would be able to prevent my brain from melting after all and I knew just what to write about.
I had a character stuck in my head. A young boy, thirteen, who was struggling. He wanted his story to be told. I had jotted down a few paragraphs a few months before but it was all trash. Why? you ask. Well, because I have a bad habit. I write a lot of poetry and by definition it doesn’t typically have rules. Prose, though, prose has rules. I had written the whole page of text as if I was speaking to someone, telling them what they did. For example, “The summer you move out into the big city you meet someone who needs your help.” You get the picture. It was an editing nightmare. But I had a very rough outline and somewhere to start.
I jumped in on the first of November and I loved it. I kept up with it. I had never attempted anything more than a short story and I was excited. I wrote every day, routinely putting in an extra thousand words than the days goal. Then, I stalled. I know exactly where it happened and I even know why. The work got too big. I got to 32,213 words, which is around 80 pages in a word document and I couldn’t move forward. I couldn’t tell where the story was going. I was about halfway through but didn’t have any idea what the ending looked like. I added more detail to old chapters to try and get to the 50,000-word goal but it simply made the problem worse. I decided I had to print the document and read it in full in order to get a grip on the direction. But let me tell you how daunting it is to look at an 80-page pile of something you wrote. I couldn’t read it, edit it, and I couldn’t move forward.
The stack of untouched paper is still on my desk two months later. I am afraid I am going to hate the story when I read it through. I am afraid I might never finish it. Which is why…I’m reading it tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I have an outline for the second half of the novel.
Updates to come 🙂