Where I’ve Been Hiding
I spent last month doing something I hadn’t done in a long time: NaNoWriMo. The stars aligned neatly with an old novel idea gaining depth and crying out to me to be written. It would have been rude not to give it a chance.
For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is the challenge to write 50,000 words across the month of November on a new novel. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that’s a bit short for a novel. And you’d be right!
I completed NaNoWriMo with approx. 55,000 words but my novel’s draft is far from over. Now I’m focusing on maintaining the momentum and finishing the draft before Christmas. Tricky, seeing as I’m working almost every day between now and then.
I’m too far in to give up now. I owe it to the story and its characters to see them through to the end.
In the end I actually abandoned the novel I started NaNoWriMo with. It turns out that although that idea has gained depth, the characters aren’t ready yet, so they’re back in the storage locker until they’re ready. I realised this near the end of the first week, which meant I’d wasted the first six days of the month and this set my goal of 50,000 words on a novel that little bit extra challenging.
Then, in a epiphanic moment (i.e. My lovely fiancé helped me realise, as she always does, what I need to be writing), it became clear that what I needed to write next was Beckoning, the sequel to the novel I’m currently sending to agents.
Now, a lot of writers would gasp at this. Common advice is to avoid sequels until the first is taken on. A lot will change and you could be writing an entire novel that needs to get scrapped. That doesn’t matter right now, though. Whether it stays or not, this part of the story has been clear in my mind since day one. I know roughly what direction the whole series is going, but the first two novels came hand in hand. Whenever I write anything else, Beckoning is… well… beckoning me to write it.
With luck, the first novel will get taken on and I won’t have to change much in the sequel because I’m just that good. In an ideal world, anyway… But, regardless of whether the first book gets taken on and regardless of whether or not the sequel as it stands will ever see the light of day, getting it out of my system is a necessity.
Now, if you’d excuse me, I’ve a first draft to finish.