I cheated for Camp NaNoWriMo this round. I had already written 14000 words in my novel Sanctuary and decided the 50K would be best spent in completing a first draft of this project. The result: 25 days into June, and I added 50,144 words to Sanctuary for a total of 64,144. A short novel is my result. My second complete full-length novel.
It needs a sequel. The larger story arc of man vs. aliens/zombies is incomplete. I will need another 60k+ to finish it out. *Sigh* I have another project on my list to complete. Does it ever end?
I think my Sanctuary series will only have two episodes. That’s my plan, but it was my plan for it to be a standalone novel to begin with. Actually, my original plan was for it to be a short story. Do you see how these things go?
1. Write – even when you hate the story. ~ I’m a pantster and while writing this story, I hated it. It had a few high points, and I loved the characters, but I felt like it was pure drivel that no one was going to want to read. I told myself to persevere and finish it anyway even if it ended up in a drawer somewhere to never be looked at again. In the end, I love the story. Go figure.
My fears about this story lie in the fact that it had zombies in it. Or maybe it was the fact it had aliens in it. Or both. Yes. BOTH. Kind of like lime green with a zebra print – you can have one, but both?
To me, it felt way too fantastical to be real. In order to make it believable, I had to create characters that were true and that I could relate to. Even the bad guy was a hero to me for a little while. Once I made them genuine and created livable relationships between them, it no longer mattered that there were zombies and aliens present in the story. THEY weren’t the focus – I mean, come on, you can only be attacked by zombies and survive it so many times without the reader/author rolling his/her eyes.
2. One step at a time. ~ I got through my last Nano using word sprints. This time I couldn’t find people to do them with me. So I found a way to sprint myself. I made the small goal of 500 words. If I can just write 500 more words, I’ll take a break. I’ll stop and reward myself. I’ll stop and play on Facebook. 500 in the morning, 500 during lunch, 500 in the evening – it all adds up. In the end, some days (2 of them) I wrote 500 words; other days, I wrote 4000 (2 of those); but most days, I wrote 1500-2000 which is what is needed to complete Nano.
3. I love a bittersweet ending. ~ My books don’t end with “happily ever after” but they don’t end where everyone dies. Both of my novels have ended in tears of sadness tempered by tears of joy. Give some, take some. What it does is keeps out the predictability and gives the reader a moment of sadness which makes the happiness that much more palatable. We’ll see if this trend keeps up.
With my first novel, I had a reader attempt to tell me how he thought the story would end after reading the first 20%. His predictions were off by a quite a bit, and it made me happy to say that at least I’m not predictable. Who wants to read predictable? I tried that once in a short story – I hated the story, and it was rejected by a market. I didn’t resubmit.
4. My female characters can’t tell a good guy from a hole in the ground. ~ What is that about? In both my novels, a major female character falls for the wrong guy. Wonder if that will continue with my next one?
Writing is a journey of self-discovery. I’m learning about myself as I create characters and the adventures that they are subjected to. As I react with them, I find out what I love, what I hate, and every compromise in between. I have so many stories to tell; it’s great some of them are finally making it onto my hard drive, where I can edit them to my heart’s content. Maybe some of them you’ll get to read someday—if you’re lucky and if I can ever stop tinkering with them.