I did it again.
I "won" NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a competition for people who enjoy pain, coffee, and suffering. No, it really isn't a competition unless you count writing against a clock as a competition. NaNoWriMo requires you to write 50,000 words in 30 days. If you think that is easy, just try it.
There have been a number of books published that had first drafts created during NaNoWriMo, including a handful of best sellers.
Perhaps my manuscript, Gravesend, will be one of them. One day.
This year, I came from behind in the last four or so days, writing almost every spare moment. However, up to now, my manuscripts never went beyond the NaNoWriMo frenzy stage.
This year may be different.
A 17 year old girl by the name of Alex (for Alexander), living in a Brooklyn of the mid 21st century, took command of my book. She turned it into something I did not expect. Instead of the Young Adult dystopian novel I had started out with, it turned into a story of pain and suffering, but also a story of hope. Also, I don't know what genre it is, but it is no longer Young Adult.
The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that you don't edit. You just write and write and write. You have this quota, the 50,000 words, to meet. You don't have time to look over your shoulder.
I wrote just over 50,000 words.
Now, the true work begins - in January, when I bring the manuscript back out, and take a careful look at it. I have no training whatsoever in fiction writing, so this should be interesting.
How do I make my reader want to progress past the first page? How do I draw him or her into turning each page, hungry for more? How do I build the world of mid 21st century Brooklyn in a way that is is logical and believable? And, what do I really want to say? What is my message?
Or, I should say, what is Alex's message?
It's taken three years to get this far.
Now it's time to take a deep breath. Alex is waiting for me on the other side of 2014, and she won't let me stuff her back into my computer.
Alex, I'll try not to let you down.