It’s 12:01, and for many writers on the Pacific Coast, National Novel Writing Month has begun.
I’ve done NaNoWriMo for four years, starting with 10,000 Butterflies back in 2008, and I’ve won every year I’ve participated. But this year, I plan on doing something different.
You see, I’ve been editing the first Guineawick Tales novel, Hester and the Kookaburra King, since I wrote Draft 0 during NaNo 2010. Last year I peaked at 20 hours a week of editing, a part-time job in its own right, and ended with a fancy new Draft 1. After NaNo 2011 my life got pretty packed though, and so it wasn’t until May of this year that I began work on Draft 2.
Since then I’ve gotten a third of the way through Hester, not far as I had originally hoped for, but still pretty impressive, considering everything that’s happened in the last 12 months.
So here we are, the start of NaNoWriMo 2012, and what the heck am I doing?
I have been tempted to start something new. I’ve had brainstorms on a half-dozen other writing projects. They’re all very tasty, very promising little universes.
But they’ll have to wait, because I can’t stand the thought of not finishing Hester. Minus a final once-over sanity-pass, I fully intend Draft 2 to be the final draft of Hester and the Kookaburra King. It’s not that I’m tired of the story- it’s that I’ve finally captured its essence, its purpose, and I’ve seen how the next two novels will play out. Not in exquisite detail- we’re talking high altitude here- but I finally know how each must end, and why, and Hester is the first act in a story I can’t wait to finally read.
I have to see it out of my head, and making progress on that is more important than any other story idea I have bouncing around my skull.
NaNo 2012, I’m going to keep editing Hester. I’m going to take advantage of the energy of NaNo and the community of writing peers for whom setting a entire month aside to writing is perfectly understandable. I won’t claim to have participated in NaNo this year; I can’t even fathom how I’d munge the add/change/delete of editing into a plausible word count, but I most certainly will be working my butt off.
Now I don’t think I’ll be able to finish editing by the end of the month, but I do hope to get over the halfway hump at least.
Anyway, best of luck to those really participating this year. Just keep writing!
P.S. It’s both odd and kind of funny that I refer to the text as Hester. Odd because I’m 99% sure the next two books will also start with “Hester and the…”; which will just be confusing if I refer to one particular book as Hester. Kind of funny because at home, Hester is what Girlfriend Anne and I use to refer to the book, and given the long time that I’ve worked on it, it sometimes feels as if it’s a real person with a life all it’s own that we’re talking about. Well maybe not a person, but at the very least like a mostly unruly pet that sometimes does the most amazing things.