Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo? More like NaNoRevMo.

All of 2013 has been one long marathon writing session.  Before the boys wake up, I'm brainstorming and working on character development problems. Then I go teach for 6 hours. Then I pick up the boys and parent for 4-5 hours before wrestling them into bed. After bedtime, it's drafting, re-writing, revising, repeat! The days have bled into weeks, which have become months. And now it's November and my query is done, my synopsis is close, my manuscript is ready to go. Except......114,000 words? What I've been studiously ignoring can be ignored no longer. I need to trim at LEAST 15,000 words. I know it. You know it. We all know it. So while other writers are building new worlds, creating interesting characters who face intriguing challenges, all with the goal of having a completed draft of a novel in 30 days,  I'll be hard at work with my red pen, slicing 10-20 words per page.  And strangely, I'm enjoying it. Like all of the other phases of my project, this too is fun in its own way. I'm taking a perverse pleasure in cutting words, phrases, and sometimes entire sentences, from what I really believed was a pretty polished piece. (I'm weird that way, I guess. I also really enjoyed cleaning out the garage when the shredders were coming.)

 I already know I can draft a book in a month. That was January. I can re-write the entire second half. That was February -April. I can undertake deep revisions and solve serious character deficiencies (May-August). I can wait patiently for for readers to read and make suggestions (August-September) and then revise again. I've lost count of the number of manuscript revisions or the number of times I've read the entire book from beginning to end, and still there are parts that delight me when I read them again. So now that it's NaNoWriMo, I feel like a marathon runner on mile 26 being invited to run a 10K. I'm going to participate, but the truth is, this entire year has been an extended NaNoWriMo for me. What's a few more miles?  I have too much momentum behind me to stop now. So every night this month I'll pick up my pen and my pages and trim a little more, so my word count won't be a reason an agent passes on my manuscript.

And I'll keep in mind the quote that's helped keep my ass in the chair every night for the past eleven months: "To publish your book, you must 1) Think of yourself as a worker and 2) Show up at the job."

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