OMG I’m Writing a Novel

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During NaNoWriMo 2022, I wrote 20,000 words of absolute crap. But for the first time, I took an idea that had been swirling around my brain for a year and put some of it down on paper (the screen).

In December, I returned to an almost-finished novella and revised/edited/proofread hard, getting that sent out before the year’s final clock struck Done. Which meant that in 2023, I was ready to focus almost entirely on that pile-of-shit novel draft. (And Mae Murray’s goal-setting workshop in early January was great!) I got to work. I revised. I deleted (I deleted SO MUCH). I rewrote. I made note cards, which ended up being so helpful.

I signed up for a little writing retreat at the campus where I teach (thank you, Dawn!), and made quick progress. By the time that retreat ended, I had 70-ish pages of worthwhile draft. Not final, but promising.

Then, in an online horror group (sorry can’t share that, it’s Top Secret), I asked if anyone would novel-buddy with me. Because asking someone to slog through your novel draft with you is a HUGE ask–so someone else asking you to do the same makes the whole thing less heavy, and you don’t have to give anyone your first-born child, or in my case, your beloved chubby beagle. It’s a bartering of slogging. And I got a novel buddy! (Thank you, CO!)

To my utter amazement, he LIKED WHAT I HAD. He said it was interesting, engaging, and that the pacing worked. In fact, after he read the chunk I sent him (about 50 pages), his only suggestions were additions and expansions–which was wonderful, because the thing with novels is that you need a lot of words in them, and that can be tricky (you wouldn’t think it would be tricky for me–most of the time I can’t shut the fork up). I added a short scene near the beginning and expanded two others. Then I moved forward, revised some more, and I can’t wait to send him the next chunk–but, I want to hit 100 pages of decent material before I do. Then I will be at roughly the halfway point with the manuscript–I will end up with something like a 60k-word novel. It will not be a 400-pager–I’m a Chatty Cathy, but not that chatty.

In Mae’s workshop on Jan. 6, I wrote out a timeline–goal months by which I would have so many chapters done, because at that time, I thought I would try to get the novel done (a spiffy draft to send out to publishers for consideration) by the end of the year.

Now I have moved up those goals. I want to finish this sucker by the end of the summer. And I think I will actually do it. And that thought has had me floating around for a week.

I’m writing a novel.

I’m writing a novel.

I’m writing a novel.

(And it’s the first of a trilogy.)

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