Sunday, 14 December 2014

50,000 mark!

I have for you one of life's great ponderous questions. Somewhat rhetorical, somewhat thought-provoking, somewhat unanswerable. It's a real head-scratcher. Ready to hear it?

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

You don't actually get a choice because I'm going to tell you the good news first, I've just heard that opening with a question is a good way to hook readers in. Hopefully you're still reading...

Well the good news is that I completed NaNoWriMo (and succeeded in writing 50,000 words in the month of November). This was a feat that I really didn't think I could achieve so I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to make it, even if writing the last 5,000 words was more painful than when I jammed a paper clip underneath my fingernail last week in work... The point is, I did it! I got my word count to a point above 50,000, something that I believed I could never, ever, ever do.

But unfortunately the laws of physics relate to writing too (surprisingly enough) and we all know that what goes up must come down, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction... Essentially, I discovered that making huge progress with my wordcount doesn't automatically equate to simultaneous progress with my plot line and character development.

What I mean is that I thought that by the time I reached 50,000 words I would have been a lot further along with my storyline. I always estimated (very naively, I now understand) that my novel would be approximately 80-90,000 words when I finished it. Therefore it makes sense that by the time I reached 50K words, I assumed that I would have been over the halfway point. But I'm not. I'm not even close to halfway. In fact, there are large parts of my novel that I left out in my haste to reach 50K. This means that I will have to go back and rewrite what I already have written, add in more chapters thus bumping up my wordcount even further and pushing me even further away from my ending!

Do I sound like I'm catastrophising? Sorry I tend do that, which in turn doesn't help with my writing. When I get stressed, confused or worried I tend to put my head in the sand and this is particularly true when it comes to writing. Why do you think it took me almost six years to sit down and finally make a decent attempt at writing my book?

So while I finished NaNo, made it to 50K and felt suitably smug for about a weekend, I then did what I do best: I panicked at the realisation that writing the book is turning out to be a lot harder than I thought (who'd have thought it?) and I avoided my novel. In fact, I've pretty much avoided it ever since. 

But I've pulled my head out of the sand this weekend, even if it did take a few weeks, and I've managed to start writing again. Knowing that I have written 50,000 words means that I can do it again and make it to 100,000. And who knows, maybe I'll have to write another 50,000 after that before I get to write those two incredible words "The End", but I can do it. My book could be 300,000 words long when I finish the first draft (although I hope it won't be) but that's what first drafts are for. They're there to edit, revise and hone down until the finest part of the story is left. 

So I may not have finished my book during NaNo but I'm so much further than I ever thought I would be!