I’ve been writing novels – with vary degrees of success – for the last year and a half.
When I first got back into writing, December 2014, I started with random stuff. A scene here or there. Something that came to me while I was walking or at work. Or driving. For whatever reason, the best ideas always come when I’m driving.
The point is that I was just trying to get the muscle to flex again. I wasn’t being picky.
Not long after that, I dropped into novels. First I tackled a story that had been in my head for years. Second I worked on a fantasy idea that came to me almost wholly formed all at once (yes, while driving). Third I embarked upon a NaNoWriMo.
This NaNoWriMo is probably the project with the most immediate potential for success and completion, so it has been the one I have focused on.
As I’ve described, I had to go back and re-write an entire section of it, and I did so over the course of January and February and the start of March.
I finished that section earlier this month.
It was a weird feeling.
I finished the story arch. Then I went back and added a scene or two to parts that needed some fleshing out. I wracked my brain for other places that might’ve needed work. I even added a scene or two where maybe things didn’t so badly need to be fleshed out.
I… was confused. It felt weird. I didn’t know what to do. Was the first draft done? How does that work?
I just wanted to keep working on it. I’d been writing novels for so long. I didn’t really know how to do anything else.
For the longest time I’ve been telling myself that once I finished this, I would edit it. I told myself I wouldn’t bury myself in another novel length project that would put all the other ones on hold.
But here I was, first draft in hand, trying to find ways to keep working on it.
The truth is, I’ve been dreading the editing process.
But, I can deny it no longer.
This book’s first draft is done.
To improve it, I’m going to need to re-read it and re-write and edit.
This marks an interesting shift in strategy for me, a huge change in focus. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never edited anything longer than 15 pages.
Things Change But Stay the Same
I’m not going to stop writing however. By that I mean I’m going to continue to organically produce fiction that is not part of a re-write.
It’s a muscle I’ve worked hard to develop over the last year or so, and I don’t want it to fall into disuse.
My plan is to start writing short fiction, with an absurdly low daily word count target (~300 words) so that I can focus on editing the novel.
It even makes sense from a strategic standpoint: If I can publish a short story and get my name out there, it’ll make the novel publication process that much easier.
The downside, however, is that short stories aren’t really my thing. I’m not as familiar with the genre. I don’t read that many short stories, and I’ve written very, very few that weren’t for a school assignment.
And I have no ideas.
Let’s see how it goes. Oh, and, uhh… let me know if you have any good short story ideas.