Dear readers and raptors,
NANOWRIMO 2012 IS OVER, AND I HAVE 50,000 WORDS!!!
Four years in a row! Holy cow, how the time does fly, and gosh, I’m really proud of myself for pulling this off on top of schoolwork and extracurriculars. I’m also incredibly proud of all my friends who undertook this, regardless of their final wordcounts—you guys are ROCKSTARS!
But beneath all this noveling joy there lurk some things that you don’t know about me. So for this week’s Sunday blogpost (going back to my regular schedule now that NaNo is over), here’s an odd factoid:
In the weeks leading up to NaNoWriMo, I often go through a period of deep suspicion.
I don’t like to admit it to myself. I’m a little weirded out that I’m admitting it here. But basically, in realizing that I’m going to have to set aside my endless editing of Unfamiliar Spellings, I get kind of nervous and, dare I say it, resentful. I know I’ve committed to writing this new novel. I know I’m supposed to be worldbuilding and getting to know these characters. I know I’m supposed to sketch out ideas for plot elements so my pantsing will at least have a modicum of direction to it.
But every time I try to do this, I feel guilty, as though showing real interest in my new plot bunny is a betrayal of my work-in-progress (WIP). Out of loyalty to the intricacies of non-loc/spelling, I’m not allowed to fully appreciate the awesomeness of the holographic racehorses on Asta. The hilarious quirks of a spacefaring Shakespeare company are somehow in competition with Smeth’s sprawling cosmopolitanism. And God forbid I should love Tony and Bella and the crew of the Helen Aeris as much as I love Albert and Julia and Kozm.
All of that ridiculousness played out in 2010 and 2011, and I fully expected to encounter it again this year. Except I wasn’t counting on one thing:
By October of 2012, I was kind of sick of Unfamiliar Spellings.
Sacrilege. SACRILEGE. How could I possibly be sick of this story/world/characters?
Oh, I fought it. I didn’t want it to happen. I’d keep the document open on my desktop behind my schoolwork and poke at it from time to time. What I was refusing to recognize was that, by that point, I’d spent a good chunk of my year working on this novel—I went on an editing spree in early January before the Writer’s Digest Conference, and then a MAD PUSH of edits in February and March in order to send out queries in April, then spent a couple months querying before I stopped in order to do more edits, then got feedback from a new round of beta readers, then headdesked when I realized the extent of the new revisions I needed to make, then drew up a list of edits…
…and have been sitting on that list since the end of the summer, rereading the draft and waiting for enough free time to revise.
Anyone would be drained after that. Of course, I know the importance of taking time off before you edit, but I just couldn’t bring myself to set it aside. Even though I could feel my enthusiasm slipping away, I felt like I *should* be editing, so I kept trying.
And then came NaNo 2012. It was the latest I’d ever gotten into the month of October without knowing what I was writing. Fortunately, my fascination with my WWI/WWII class kept bleeding over into everything I did, and somehow, by 12:01 on November 1st, I had a very sketchy plot and characters.
Maybe Shadeshock wasn’t as “threatening” because it was in the same world as Unfamiliar Spellings. Maybe it was the novelty of writing historical fantasy (rather than the sci-fi of 2010 and 2011). Maybe it was the lack of prep work. Or maybe it was just that I was feeling so done with US and that there really was something special about Shadeshock. Regardless, NaNo 2012 was the first time that I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about enjoying the new novel.
I allowed myself to like the setting.
I allowed myself to like the plot.
Most important, I allowed myself to like the characters.
NaNoWriMo 2012 ended. I crossed the finish line with 50K and flying colors. And last night, I realized that in all the time I’d spent wrapped up in NaNo, I’d finally gotten enough distance that I was excited to go hang out with my old characters again.
And thus it is that, after months of angst, I love my old book again.
So hopefully, winter break will let me finally implement those edits, and maybe I’ll finish the Shadeshock draft too. For now, though, I’m off to WRITE LIKE THE WIND. (Finals, finals, finals. All the finals.)
How are you all? For those of you who did NaNo, how did things go for you? For those who didn’t, what have you been up to this month?
Oh, and though he’s been AWOL for a while, Frederick Regency Raptor would like me to let you know that he sends his greetings.