I’ve been MIA for the last week, I know that. I have a good excuse though. On Sunday night I sent the first (second? third?) draft of my novel out for people to read. Actual friends and family members have the manuscript in their possession. I have spent the last 3 months thinking about little else than my main character and her story and now I’m forbidding myself from looking at it for three weeks. So, yes, I was MIA last week, but you have my undivided attention for the next three weeks. Good luck not getting sick of me.
I never imagined that I could write an entire manuscript of a novel. I remember even saying to Evan that I loved the blog because fiction writing was so hard. I always felt like I was trying to put on a show when I wrote fiction. I was trying to get the words perfect and make it all beautiful. Even when I committed to NaNoWriMo in November, I didn’t think I would actually make it to the end. I figured I’d get so caught up in how “bad” I was that I’d just give up after three days. Just like I did with the 17-Day Diet last summer. Then, when I finally finished and it was more than 54,000 words, I was shocked and proud and excited. I couldn’t even really believe it had happened.
Then came the editing. That part was less fun that the writing. During NaNoWriMo you’re supposed to ignore your inner editor, that voice that tells you you’re writing sucks. Then during the editing process, you have to listen to that editor. There were days over the last two months where I felt like I was working on something kind of brilliant and there were many more days where I was sure I was arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Even Sunday night, when I finally sent out the manuscript, I still felt like it wasn’t quite good enough. But my next step would have been to eliminate a whole character and I thought, “mm. better not.” (if you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect this references is lost on you. Also, you should probably go… watch it! right now! I’ll wait!)
I do think there is the seed of something in my story. I don’t think its done or even really near done, but my protagonist does matter. I just finished reading Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door which were the most inspiring books I could have read at this point in my writing. Her characters are smart and honest and engaging. Everything that I want my main character to be. I keep thinking that if Brooklyn, my main character, could even exist in the same ballpark as Anna and Lola, I will have reached my goal as a writer. It’s going to take a lot more work, but I do think that Brooklyn’s story is one that needs to be told.
I promise that I won’t spend the next three weeks obsessing about my novel. I’ll write some new and insightful essays and post awesome recipes and return to the blogger I was before NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul. In the meantime, why don’t you visit some old favorites?