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Sunday, 2 December 2018

Post-November, Post-Novel

So as most of you know I took part in National Novel Writing Month last month, as I so often do, and probably annoyed a bunch of people following me on social media.

For the uninitiated, the challenge involves writing a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November. (For reference, that's the length of The Great Gatsby, Slaughterhouse-5, Of Mice And Men and Fight Club, give or take a couple hundred.) As a competition it attracts a significant following every year, over 400,000 in 2017.

It was started, expressly, as an attempt to get people to just.. write something. All sorts of people talk about writing, but say they never have time, or worry they won't be good at it, or say that if it won't get published what's the point. So. NaNoWriMo exists to sideline all of those excuses. It doesn't need to be good. It doesn't need to be published. Just get it out of your head and onto a page. Writing is a practicable skill, meaning that the more you do it, the better you get at it. The most important thing you have to do is actually start.

I do it, because I have difficulty getting started in terms of writing. Plenty of ideas, so little will to get them on paper or continue them. I find it difficult. NaNo is just that right kind of pace and deadline that I find the entire thing to be very useful for my process.

It's also my opportunity to write a thing that needn't become anything bigger or tie into anything I have already done. I can write something experimental or just for fun.

This year, I dabbled in a setting I have been toying with, and I put in a romantic plot because I deliberately don't do that with a lot of my writing. I hiss and recoil whenever I am told that a plot HAS to have romance in it. So I am out of practice. This was good practice, and I ended up being a big fan of the two girls that fell for each other.

The end result isn't great. I like the setting but the story itself leaves something to be desired. I am making it freely available for people to read if they want, but it's far from my best work.

Also this year was close. And that is rare, because usually I either crush it with days to spare or I give up in the first week and a half. So to be on day 29 and to see I still had like 3,000 words to go - that was a bit of a pulse-pounder.

Being laid up as I am right now - my left quad is absolutely screwed, standing up and moving about is horrible - I thought that maybe it would make things easier. It didn't. The painkiller fog and the actually being IN pain and uncomfortable does not a good writing environment make.

I'm proud of the words I put down, even if they weren't my best. I'm pretty sure the story is cogent, at least. I like the characters involved - enough that I would like to revisit them. I would certainly like to do more in the setting.

Either way. I have emerged blinking out of the writing bunker.

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