Writing a novel really does take time and so I admire anyone taking part in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as Twitter users abbreviate it to).
I have to admit until two weeks ago I knew no such event for the month of November existed. November is, after all, the month of speeding towards the inevitability of Christmas. November is renowned in Britain for spending the first few days exploding gunpowder in elaborate firework displays to commemorate some guy who tried to do exactly that to the British Houses of Parliament in 1605. More recently, November has become known as “Movember” whereby men across the land grow a moustache to raise money for awareness of men’s health issues.
But now I discover there is yet more to November. When I started to see #NaNoWriMo on my Twitter feed recently I thought everyone had started speaking robot or had been beamed down from planet Ork. Intrigued, I investigated and discovered NaNoWriMo is an annual event whereby writers write a novel in a month. Yes, that’s what I said. ONE MONTH!
I cannot even for one moment, (or even if I thought about it for a month) fathom how this would be possible, mainly because I am now up to 26 months writing my novel. Just the initial draft took 14 months to write but I would never have been happy to submit that to anyone other than my mother. (Thank goodness she was the only one who saw it in such a rough state. )
11 months on and I am still working on it. (Like I say, these things take time.)
This week I have just reduced the word count of Prophecy Of Innocence Book 1 to just over 71,000 words from 73,000. Not because I needed to reduce the word count at all, simply because I have just slashed out a huge proportion of the first chapter.
What on earth possessed me to do that? you may ask. (Unless you write yourself – in which case you will understand.)
Well the reason is I decided to enter a competition. The competition requires a submission of the opening chapter (or first 2000 words) of an original children’s novel. (http://www.leicesterwriters.org.uk/) This criteria confirmed for me something I already suspected about the opening of my novel; that is some of it is superfluous and unnecessary. Sure it describes the world and some of the setting in detail and although if you read on to the second chapter it all fits and makes sense but as a stand alone it just wasn’t a strong enough opening. Keeping it means a time lapse in the story. An unnecessary time lapse I see now.
It was painful to cut out, I won’t lie. It’s been there in one form or another for over two years, so it was like severing a friendship in many ways. Also it is painful because I really want to keep some of the vivid description but now I am going to have to move it elsewhere which means more editing. Sigh. So you see, I couldn’t write a novel in a month. Clearly I need at least 25, if not more!
I have joked many times this feels like the Never-ending story. Perhaps one day I will be a good enough writer to have an idea for a novel and write it in a month. For now though, I’ll take my time. We’re not quite at journey’s end yet.
Good luck to anyone out there taking part in National Novel Writing Month. You must all be very mad or very talented or both!
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
If interested, you can read the first 2000 words of Prophecy of Innocence here on the Sneak a Peek page of my blog. I would be happy and grateful to receive any constructive feedback.