As if novels are ever finished.
I have finished draft number 6 of novel 2011. A review: I start a novel every year during NaNoWriMo and have won that contest six years in a row. I spend the rest of the year re-writing these novels or working on other projects. Here’s a list of my novel WIPs:
Year – My Ranking of Potential (1 to 5) – Draft – Words – Status – Plan
2010 – 4 Stars – Draft 3, a complete story – 80,000 – not touched since 2012. Needs a setting overhaul and a major rewrite. – Indefinite revisit.
2011 – 5 Stars! – Draft #6 – 129,000 words – Ready for pitching – About to undertake a major submission agenda.
2012 – 4 Stars – Draft #4 – 130,000 words – Needs a story trim; much too much happening; needs a writing overhaul, a killing of bad habits. – Indefinite revisit.
2013 – 2 Stars – Draft #1 – 51,000 words – Need to find the tension. I have characters and ending but the plot falls down in the mud. – Indefinite revisit.
2014 – 4 stars – Draft #1 – 51,000 words – A Sequel to 2012; I really like this story and it could become 5 star – Indefinite revisit.
2015 – 1 Star – Draft #1 – 50,000 words – an attempt at writing in an additive style; I cannot function in this style, not solely – XXX
2016 – 5 Star! – Concept – 0 words – A story with social implications I am not sure I am qualified to pull off, but if I do …
2016 – 4 Star! – Concept – 0 words – A less defined story with social implications I feel more comfortable attacking, but the story itself is mostly undefined.
I’ve had to overcome some major writing issues since I undertook this journey, and I don’t claim to be finished. My writing has been a rebellious child.
I tend to write weak conversational sentences which overuse stage-management verbs: she looked, she saw, she felt, etc.. I also tend to generalize. I know the story, so I don’t need to write all the details. I don’t need them. And putting myself in my readers’ shoes has been a struggle. Even when I try hard, I tend to slip into the internal know-it-all mode. Yet whenever I read others’ writings, their generalizations jump out at me. It is a pattern I have yet to resolve.
I think I have figured out the tension and drama of sentences, paragraphs, sections, scenes, chapters, and stories. I have a series of blogs in progress where I elucidate my understanding of pattern in prose: the general narrative arc we so easily apply to story also applies at each sub-level. My daily reading and analysis of narrative prose has been a tremendous help as has my attacking of several writing craft books.
I think it is all coming together, finally, but of course it seems held together by fine threads.
This 2012 novel feels really good. At least it does to me. I have concerns how others will take it, and I have been mindful of the differences between my own thinking and the common person’s. I am an INFP who lives in his diffuse-thinking half of his mind and who easily visits all angles of an argument but has difficulty taking sides. He hates run-on sentences but sometimes uses them to demonstrate how he thinks. This novel has political implications, and I fear staunch wingers, left or right, may view this story as wishy-washy. Yet our world is full of wishy-washy people, and I might argue these people should run the world.
2012 is also uber-Canadian. You can’t get more Canadian than my story, and I mean that in every conceivable sense. I cant see the rest of the world reading it (especially Americans) and saying, “Wha?” Yet they will never find a better guide of our country 😉
2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday. It’s going to be a hell of a party. My guts say this story needs to be out there for much of next year, and there’s only one sure way I know of doing that, and that’s not really the route I want to take. I’d rather a major publisher take it on and pump it out in six months rather than the twenty four they a lot new authors.
If they’d only read it!
Anyway, wish me luck on this journey.