There are multiple kinds of truth, in fiction as in life. As fiction writers, we move as close to the truth as possible without ever quite veering into truth entirely (otherwise we’d be writing nonfiction). One kind of truth emanates from a realism of scene and detail. By identifying with familiar settings and character traits, readers are pulled into a story and become personally attached to it.
Sometimes writing is like being in a trance. How else can it be explained? When people have experiences, like taking the kids to the zoo for the first time or falling in love; we remember them. We may even remember what our lover was wearing the first time we laid eyes on him or her.
Once upon a time, a critique partner told me I should put my manuscript in a box and place that box under my bed and never take it out. Imagine for a moment that you’re me. How would that make you feel in your mind and in your creative heart? Devastated, right? I wanted to slam down my manuscript and walk off the writing-playing field before the whistle blew, and not ever look back.
Some writers enjoy the process of rereading and combing through each word, looking for ways to strengthen sentences, remove extraneous detail, sharpen plot and develop characters. But for many it’s pure torture. Editing can feel like it lacks the punch and excitement of the initial writing, too analytical and uncreative.
There are so many things I have learned thus far in my journey to become a published author. I am a very eager person but unfortunately sometimes I lack patience. Patience is definitely something I didn’t have when I first started writing.
This is the first year in the three years that I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month) that I didn’t “win”. In case you don’t know, NaNo is where you write 50,000 words in the month of November. I started my fourth novel for NaNo this year and then life got in the way. I’ve been disciplined enough to write a novel outside of November in the past but having that month to completely focus on word count has always been ground breaking. Being competitive with yourself works for some people but not for others. It works for me.
I took the decision not to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’m so far behind with other writing projects; I could not contemplate starting something new. However I did enjoy the last couple of years and learned a lot from it. Hopefully for next November I’ll be ready to try it again.