How to make a novel shiny and new

Before NaNoWriMo I spent two weeks planning the story and characters in my novel. I planned so that in November I would simply be able to write, without having to worry that I didn’t know where I was supposed to be going with the words, and also to keep me on track. Turns out I did have a few moments where I lost myself in various tangents, but mostly that was a good thing because it provided me with the sub-plot I needed.

However, I only planned in detail enough to get me to the NaNoWriMo goal – 50,000 words. With my distractions and side-characters in the sub-plot, that’s been extended to almost 70,000. But I am now facing a new challenge. I know where my story needs to go: I just haven’t planned the next part in enough detail to get me there!

So, it was back to the ‘drawing board’ to sketch out the rest of the story. I’ve wasted the last few writing sessions procrastinating because I was unsure of exactly what needed to happen next. I have the character I need, the basic idea in my head and the opportunity for the story to be told…I just had no idea what that might look like. So today I spent some time doing some serious thinking…

Now I do know what needs to happen. It’s a lot more complicated that I thought it would be. There are legal issues and police proceedures required that I never really bargained for. And there’s another twist – one that my readers will see coming, but that the character in question won’t: so the suspense will be built around how and when this character will find out this unfortunate, but entirely logical, piece of information. It’s going to be that piece of information that will alter the character’s attitude entirely.

I don’t know if it’s a bit messy, or overly dramatic: but I guess I need to write it and see how it fits with the rest of the novel. I think my confidence has grown whilst I’ve been writing, so I’m more willing to tackle challenges I probably wouldn’t have dreamed of in the first few weeks. Perhaps that shows progress, or perhaps it’s entirely misplaced egotism.

I can tell you one thing though: it’s exciting. I can’t wait to tell this part of the story now, because the whole novel feels shiny and new all over again, almost like it’s a brand new story in itself. it’s rekindled my passion for the act of writing, and I’m glad I didn’t plan it all out so meticiously the first time around – because so much has changed in the previous 70,000 words. I feel rejuvenated and reinvested in the writing now, and I’m rearing to go all over again.

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One response to “How to make a novel shiny and new

  1. I know what you mean about getting back in love with the art of writing. Congratulations on getting this far and I’m sure everything will fall into place. After you’ve left it alone for a while and re-read your work the little tweaks that are required will enable you to iron out the potential problems you see at the moment. Happy writing.

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