The Slough of Despond

Back in November, I finished a novel for NaNoWriMo. (if you’re coming in late, that’s National Novel Writing Month.)

I missed National Novel Finishing Month (December). Who can work on writing in December, what with Christmas cookies to bake, cards to send out, halls to deck, etc. — what were they thinking?

This month is National Novel Editing Month. *smirk* As if I’m anywhere close to fixing commas and hunting down adverbs.

Reactions to my announcement that I’d won in November ranged from, “Cool. What do you get?” to “Why would anyone want to write a novel in a month?”

Yes, I finished. *Patting self on back*

Fortunately everyone is so tired of hearing about it that they don’t keep asking me, “Have you sent your novel out to publishers yet?”

Most of my friends aren’t writers. They don’t know about the hard truth of revision. They think you write it, and then you publish it. Sort of like a blog, but longer.

I am stuck in the Slough of Despond. I sink under the weight of my own bad writing.

Nano month was a great experience for me. It taught me how to write a first draft — just get it down on paper. Worry about revision later.

Later is now. More

The Ghosts of Novels Past

I have written three entire novels.

I thought I was unique until I joined Scribophile. There I discovered that I was not the only person on the planet to plan a Trilogy of Very Imaginative and Lengthy Fantasy Novels.

Mine weren’t a trilogy, however (though the first one tried). My ghosts came to me one at a time.
I have done some horrendous writing. I have even sent some of it out to publishers. A Box of Shame sits on my closet shelf, whispering to me, “Capable of Doing Better…”

Each attempt was better than the last, but none should have been sent out. I’m sure no one remembers my Space Opera, with a name I’m too embarrassed to tell you. (Okay, I have been, and always will be a Trekkie; but that is no excuse to be cliche.) When printed, it ran over 500 pages, which impressed me greatly at the time. But 500 pages of tripe is still tripe.

I resolved to boldly go beyond that sad effort. More

Nano 50002

I did it. At 6:13 this morning, I typed word # 50,002.
I am most pleased with the ending, which just dropped out of nowhere. As I was thinking that it would take a couple thousand more words to bring it all to a conclusion, I suddenly saw the end. I may add a short epilogue, just to clarify a couple things, but I am happy with the way it turned out.
The writing needs tons of revision.
The plot is fine, and with some re-working, will make a good story.
The characters are okay. Now that I have a better idea who they all are, it will be easier to go back and look at their dialog and actions and fix inconsistencies.
But it’s done.
It’s not five chapters, meticulously honed to perfection and nowhere near completion. It is a complete novel. I have no pretensions about it being a great work of literature, but it has potential.
Now what?
I have several unfinished projects that might benefit from some of the discipline I’ve taught myself in the last 19 days.
As far as the Nano goes, January is National Novel Revision Month, I think. By then I may be ready to look at it again.
Till then… ?

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