Well, a couple of days ago I had the perfect combination of free time and courage, so I opened the word document containing November’s NaNovel for the first time since Thanksgiving Day. So far, I have sixteen chapters read.
And guess what?
It’s not half bad.
Not that it’s readable by anybody but me, but I’m feeling quite hopeful. It’s always a nerve-wracking experiment, opening work you haven’t looked at in a while. It’s a bit like opening the tupperware container you found at the back of your fridge; you never know what you’ll find in there.
Of course, it’s a NaNovel. It’s not a thing of beauty, by any stretch, but even with it’s sloppy phrasing, information dumps, and random filler sections, I think I can make something out of it. And I know what needs to be done, which is a huge improvement over where I was this time last year. I suppose even with the long stretches of time where I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything, or growing as a writer at all, I must have been learning something. My confidence level has shot up several inches at this point.
Besides the simple work of putting words on paper (almost) every day, I have another tool in my kit that is making sense of the whole rewriting process. It’s a book called The Plot Whisperer, and I will most certainly be writing a post dedicated to it as soon as I finish reading it. For now, suffice it to say that it has given me a road map through editing. Prior to this, most of the instruction I have found on the rewriting process could be boiled down to “read the book and fix the mistakes.”
Well, but how do I know what needs to be fixed???
This book has given me a clear picture of how to whip the plot into some kind of story-resembling shape, by identifying the energy of each scene, and making sure each strong energy point is at the right point in the manuscript to keep the story flowing. So my next order of business, once I re-familiarize myself with the story as it stands now, will be to identify the key scenes in my story and make sure they fall at the right points along the timeline of the whole novel.