Well, I’m in the final stretches of Camp NaNoWriMo. From a production standpoint, it’s been a success. I’ve got over 81,000 words so far and am on track to get to my goal of 90,000 by month end without killing myself (probably).. You can see my stats here.I will have about 28 very lengthy chapters, many of which I may never use, hopefully bringing my ultimate wordcount somewhere in the neighborhood of War and Peace.
Aside from pure volume however, it’s been a mixed bag. I’ve learned a few things:
- First of all, writing this fast is not optimal for me. I do like to write a first draft pretty quickly- it doesn’t seem to do me any good to agonize over every word- but I like a lot more preparation before I sit down to write my daily words. I like to read over and edit what I did the day before, maybe read a few previous chapters that are pertinent, and maybe journal a bit about what I’m planning. Having to crank out 3,000 words each and every day was just enough that I couldn’t do it as part of my regular routine.
- My multiple POV setup isn’t working. There are too many characters, and they don’t all have equal significance. The problem is, if they’re all main characters, they have to be around to advance the plot in some way. This leads to a mix of really exciting chapters that are really long, and really boring ones that are really short. There’s also a lot of redundancy when three (or more!) POV characters spend an extended period of time in one place. I just don’t have the skill to pull it off. This means that my first rewrite will mostly serve to simplify down to two main characters- I’m thinking Kendryk and Braeden right now- with secondary characters getting their moments as needed. That is a LOT of rewriting!
- I very much prefer to write male characters. I know I should just turn in my girly-feminist card right now. It has been this way since I started writing fiction in high school. I really don’t know why this is, since I’m not the least bit of a tomboy (i hate dirt and sports), but male characters are just much, much easier for me to write. Part of the reason I’m leaning towards telling the story from Kendryk and Braeden’s points of view is that those two characters have been the easiest to write and I feel their voices are the clearest and most most distinctive. I’m loving Arian too, to be honest, but there may not be enough of him to merit a narrator kind of role. Sorry girls- no work for you this time!
- Janna has got to go. I was very invested in the idea of having a main character be a commoner. It’s relatively rare in fantasy, especially of this type. I see why that is now. This is a story that has to be primarily told by people who are either helping direct the action (Kendryk), or who have a role that puts them in or near a lot of the main action (Braeden). Since starting the book, I’ve felt that Janna’s story is just too slight, at least at this point. It’s perfect for a secondary character, so she’ll still exist in some form. After talking to my mom, I also realized that I would have to split her character into two different people. Otherwise, there are too many coincidences and contrivances. My mom is reading Dickens right now, so is feeling particularly sensitive to any literary cliches.I would hate to give her a rash.
Now that I’ve figured some of these things out, I’m anxious to get around to fixing them..What’s frustrating right now is knowing all of this, but not being able to do much about it, at least for a few more days. As it stands, I have to write about 8,000 more words, and I’M NOT QUITTING THIS CLOSE TO THE END!!!