Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why I didn't write my novel

It is the last day of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and I am still at just over 5,000 words, just one tenth of the 50,000 words required to "win." Obviously I didn't try too hard. The reasons why:

I concentrated the first half of the month on practicing for our orchestra concerts, which took place November 14 and16. I figured I could double my efforts after the concerts and still finish in time. After all, my writing speed has improved somewhat since I began working for the paper, and there are NaNoWriMo participants who have written 50,000 words in a single day. One of the winners wrote over 1.8 million words. I find this hard to imagine. As another NaNoWriMo member commented: Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past had nearly 1.5 million words, and was published in 13 volumes between 1913 and 1927. Or, for more contemporary readers, the biggest Harry Potter book had a quarter of a million words, and all seven of them together are about 1 million words (I think.)

Just before the concert, I came down with a bad cold and sniffled and coughed my way through the next 2 weeks. I didn't feel like writing, or doing much of anything.

My writing for work has to come first.

I wasted time on the Internet. :-)

I blogged every day in November, thus "winning" NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. I knew at the beginning of this month that it might be too much to take on both, as I did last year, but I am glad I at least attempted both. I did do a lot of thinking about noveling, and read some interesting books about writing, as well as some novels, so it was, at least, a month of thinking about writing.

I never really came up with a decent plot. I had ideas, but was not clear where I was heading. And, I was trying to fit too much of my life experience into the novel, rather than imagining what could have, might have been, could or might yet happen. Perhaps I ought to work on a memoir first, or, maybe a fictionalized memoir, just to explore these ideas from my own life, without the expectation of writing a novel incorporating them, and then moving on from there.

My friend Neva, on the other hand, had a very detailed plot outline, and a creative point of view and structure--and she finished her novel with days to spare. I applaud her, and all the others who finished.


Mainframeguy said...

You write for a living and tried this too? Credit to you, but you have a very good grip on why you didn't make it. I suspect with paid writing employment the motivation and drive are lower too.

Thanks for the story about that CRAZY person who wrote millions of words of what are surely rubbish. I think they need help. I am certain they must have carpal tunnel syndrome in the making also!

Maricello said...

Thanks for your comments, and congratulations on finishing your novel.

Though I do get paid to write, and do find it satisfying, I still have hopes of writing that novel one of these days.