Friday, December 21, 2012
Birth of a Novel: But is it any good???
If NaNoWriMo teaches us anything, it's that to complete a novel, you gotta work. You have to produce word count and if you worry about every word choice, every sentence fragment, every nuance of a scene, you cannot make forward progress. Nothing is ever perfect and really, it's just another delay tactic to avoid the hard road ahead. A novel is a marathon, not a sprint.
During your first draft, give yourself permission to make mistakes because you're going to. I just went back and read some of the stuff I dashed off in the first couple of days of my current project, PINCH OF THIS and realized it doesn't work with what I'm building now. Did I go back and fix it? Not yet and here's why: I don't know exactly how this journey is going to wrap up and what seems out of place or just plain nutty right now may not seem so when I'm done. There's no sense going back and editing and re-editing something that doesn't have a full form. Don't get caught in that endless loop. Lots of first time writers do and that's also why you'll hear more people say "I'm working on a novel" as opposed to "I've written a novel."
Though you might cringe later, write whatever feels appropriate now. There's always the backspace and delete buttons, but ONLY after the first draft is complete. The hard fact of the matter is that none of it may seem very cohesive once you read it as a finished product, but you won't know UNTIL you finish. So keep plugging away and save the self-edits for another day. Hey, that rhymes. Hee hee.
Next time, we'll talk about how to keep the inspiration flowing because a novel or even a novella is a long haul.