I want to write a novel.
Such a simple sentence, and yet it is wrapped up with all sorts of latent desire, determination and abject doubts.
‘I have written a novel’ sounds so much better. However, with that comes all measure of new difficulties. Just because I have written a novel doesn’t mean it is very good, or even that it’s truly finished. All I have done so far is sketch out the story, introduce my characters and set them on a journey of self-discovery. That first-draft isn’t a novel, it’s an idea waiting to become a novel.
So, whilst I was away from my writing I made a decision. I wrote the majority of my manuscript in the month of November and then it took me another eleven months to complete it. Yet, it now lounges in the ether of my hard-drive patiently awaiting to be given the essence of what it is – a real novel – which means, a rewrite.
After the deadline for my upcoming submission (Writing Magazine’s Last Line competition) on the 15th April, I am going to dedicate an entire month to my novel.
I am going to read it, add the parts I’ve missed out, fix point of view inconsistencies, sharpen up character motivations and identify those chapter breaks that I should have included as I wrote. I will map out the story arc, examine my dialogue, remove unnecessary passages and replace adverbs with strong verbs. I am going to do this in a month, thirty days of intense novel work out. This should help me determine if I can truly claim the title of author for this little tome of mine or if I am just a writer, content to write but not to publish.
It will be hard work. It will be challenging, especially considering that I have not ever attempted to edit a novel before. But, I have time to research, to find tips and strategies for aiding me in this endeavour. I will mark my experience though my blog posts, documenting struggles and breakthroughs, recounting joy and doubts, in the hope that it will help me once again in the future when I might be foolish enough to try this again, for my second novel – still only in first-draft format.
So, herein starts the countdown. Twelve days until I commit myself to the hardship of editing.
I’m already looking forward to it.