Rambling on . . . about writing that novel . . .

character questions.

I have always enjoyed reading fiction, so it seemed a natural progression to think about writing something of my own.  I have notebooks full of thoughts and ideas and a few beginnings of stories that never really amounted to much.  It was only when a fellow blogger mentioned that he was thinking about joining the National Novel Writing Month nanowrimo  last year - that I said ‘I will if you will’.  There – I had commited myself to writing the draft of a novel, 50,000 words in 30 days – with no idea what I was going to write about.

After slogging away every evening for a month I completed the said number of words required for the draft, and to say I was dead ‘chuffed’ is an understatement.  I had stuck at it and had the semblance of a story for the first time ever.  Then I put the pages in a folder, put the folder in a drawer and have never looked at it since.

A few days ago I was clearing out the office desk and came across the folder and started reading – I could hardly believe that I had written all this in a month – and actually thought it was better than I remembered.

So I took the bull by the horns and gave it to a friend to read – hoping that she wouldn’t say she enjoyed it so as not to hurt my feelings.

I spent a restless night wondering if she had started it yet and what her reaction would be.  She came round this afternoon bearing the folder aloft – saying  that she had spent the evening reading my draft – and, hooray, she enjoyed it – genuinely.  There were one or two criticisms which I took on the chin, knowing already that I could have expanded the story in some places, and she said that I had almost given away the ending too early on – but other than that . . .

Whew – it was nerve-wracking, no-one has ever been given the chance to read anything I had written before , it was a secret, private thing – but it was a worthwhile exercise and has given me a little more confidence in my ability as a writer.

I don’t think I could stand the strain of doing it for a living though - it is all-consuming – all that thinking and plotting is enough to make your brain explode – now when I read a book I take in all sorts of things that I never noticed previously.

So – I am quite happy just to do it for pleasure and to keep my brain active – and one satisfied reader is a good start . . . for now . . .

I am thinking about doing it again this year as I found it such an exhilirating experience – fancy joining me?

Click on to the above link if you are interested – we could give each other moral support when things aren’t going very well – what say you?

Participant-120x90-2

Comments

  1. I'd love to but really couldn't commit to it and although I have thought about it haven't come up with any good ideas for a story. Have you thought of serialising your story in blog form

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  2. I agree that it is a big commitment of time, but the month flew by so quickly (I hate November so it was a good way of distracting me from the the dreary weather and the nights drawing in). I suppose I could start another blog and post my progress with the next story I have in mind - not sure anyone would read it though - I'll give it some more thought.

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    1. I would! I do have an idea for a young children's book which would need lots of illustrations and take more than a month so who knows I may just get started over winter.

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    2. Would you consider doing the illustrations yourself?

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    3. Yes I'd enjoy doing that. When I was teaching I used to make up children's stories and did illustrate my literacy colleagues story when I was an IT education consultant

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    4. Ah - it seems you have hidden talents as well

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  3. Wow 50,000 words in 30 days is an awesome accomplishment. And that's great that a friend read it and gave honest feedback. Awesome Elaine :)

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    1. Thank you Keith - I must admit to feeling rather proud of myself - having never done anything like it before.

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  4. Yay I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year too :-) Good Luck Kay xx

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    1. Good luck to you too Kay - did you do anything further to your draft after the month was finished or is it lurking in a drawer the same as mine.

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  5. Oh Elaine I would so love to do this BUT having just got my degree out of the way and thankful that I no longer have to stress out getting essays done, I think I'll give it a miss right now.. VERY tempted though! Well done on your first 50,000 worder and good luck for the next. You've really got me thinking about this........I may be in touch
    Patricia x

    PS how did you come up with your plot? Did you have something in the pipeline?

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    1. I can understand your reluctance Patricia after all that hard work you have been through but it is something to bear in mind for the future - to put all your learning into practise. I had no idea about what to write except for a newspaper clipping that I thought I may be able to build a story around.

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  6. I have always wanted to write something..but November is just too busy already..I would love to read your stories..
    Love, Mona

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    1. It's amazing how much you can get written in the odd hour here and there.

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  7. As you know I had to stop after about ten days last year but I've been tinkering with, and thinking about, my story almost daily since then.
    Well done for going for it again this year. I hope to be able to join you and will let you know if I can in a week or so. Flighty xx

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    1. It was a shame about last year - you were getting on so well. Now you have had a year to think about it you should be able to get it done, no problem - just hope I can keep up with you if you decide to go for it.

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  8. Well done Elaine. I sadly havent got the time nor the ideas to write a book but good luck with yours. They do say everyone has at least one book in them but I doubt that I do!!

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    1. The hardest part is trying to think of something original - and when you think of all the hundreds of books that are out there - you feel it is an impossible task but the only way to find out is just to start typing and it seems to take on a life of its own - well it did for me anyway.

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  9. How wonderful to be so pleased about what you wrote after finding it again, and how even more wonderful to find someone else enjoyed it too. I won't be joing you as I am not a person who has a long standing feeling that I have a book inside me, so to speak, but happy writing.

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    1. Thanks Janet - I'm busy thinking about my storyline as we speak.

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  10. What a fantastic achievement...I really think you should post the story and your new one on a blog. I'd love to give it a whirl but haven't the time at the moment. I am forever writing children's stories and forgetting about them. xxxx

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    1. I've never considered childrens stories - I shouldn't wonder that they are harder to write than adult fiction.

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  11. Brilliant achievement - but surely you must follow up on your friend's comments and redraft your first book, as well as writing another this November!
    I always have good intentions for Nanowrimo but I'm hopeless at plotting. I could easily write that many words in a month - but not a novel...
    Good luck with everything :)

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    1. I will have to be in the mood to redraft - as I'm sure it will change everything - and the thought of all that re-typing is a bit daunting. I'm just eager to get on with the next one.

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  12. Well done for writing one - it is an achievement even if it will never get published for whatever reason (such as you don't want to be the next JK Rowling!) Good to hear you'll be writing another. It seems these days it's always worth exploring the internet as much as possible for sharing your stories.

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    1. There are various outlets for writers on the internet I know - I just haven't got round to investigating them yet as I'm not really sure I want to go public so to speak.

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  13. You must have been so pleased to achieve the challenge, that sounds such a huge number of words!
    Sarah x

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  14. It works out at 1100 words roughly a day - it doesn't sound so bad when you break it down.

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    1. It's nearer 1700 words per day...but who's counting! Flighty xx

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    2. You are right of course - I must have pressed the wrong key.

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  15. Good luck with your new challenge, look forward to hearing how you get on.

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