I Just Don’t Know Yet

manuscriptHow much is too much? I continue to write on in my draft of a novel. I love every minute of writing it. It’s not perfect, and it may never see the light of day. I may be the only one who every reads it. I just don’t know yet. My characters are still talking to me and telling me to write more. I am obsessed with them.

So I continue to write – usually at noon and at night, sometimes in the middle of the night. I almost always write something every day. I put it aside a few weeks ago while I read novels instead of writing one, and I missed it! It was good to take a break from it for a bit, but the characters kept talking to me. I couldn’t wait to get back to them.

I’m up to 262,000+ words. They’re not all good words so don’t let that number startle you. The story hasn’t reached its conclusion yet. It’s had lots of things happen in it. It has lots more to come. Ideas occur to me, and I add them. How do I know when to stop? I just don’t know yet. I’ve just been going with the flow and letting it go on and on until I reach the point where I’m either bored with it, tired of it, or it reaches its logical conclusion. I know it needs massive editing, but I don’t want to do that until I reach my quit point. It also needs someone kind to read it when I’m ready so they can tell me if it’s any good or not. I just don’t know yet.

I think my effort runs on and on because I never could work from an outline. I always found an outline to be too restricting. If I try to work from one, I never stick to it. At some point, when I get all my ideas out, I will probably go back and do a reverse outline and structure the story I’ve got to fit the outline so that the book has a beginning, a middle and an ending.

Who knows? Maybe this isn’t a novel. Maybe it’s two. Maybe it’s just an exercise in creative writing. Whatever it is, it’s been good for me and I don’t regret all the time I’ve spent on it. It’s been a confidence booster. I’ve enjoyed creating characters that feel like real people to me. They are funny with unique personalities of their own.

I don’t think this is going to be the next great American novel. That’s okay. Heck, I’d be satisfied with publishing a trashy romance novel. What I have so far is part romance, part ghost story, part Young Adult and part erotic novel. Will all those genres remain in the final version? I just don’t know that yet either.

Prior to this novel and this set of characters, I made several starts and stops and attempts at writing a book. Nothing ever worked. They were childish and trite. Even the children’s book I wrote starring a squirrel, as the main character, didn’t work. I got quite a bit of that one written before I got tired of it. For some reason, the characters I’m writing about now stuck. I kept going. Does that mean something? I just don’t know yet.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

The Value of an Outline

I’ve been spending time this week working on the children’s book that I began during NaNoWriMo. I took today off from work because I have to run errands with my youngest son this afternoon. I decided to use this morning to re-read through what I’ve written in the book.

photoI haven’t touched it much since November so I don’t recall some of what I wrote. I’ve been working on a reverse outline this time through, too. I had no outline or plan to follow when I began to write so I just typed and let the thoughts and ideas flow. NaNoWriMo is all about writing as much as you can during an entire month, and then you go back later on to edit.

 

Doing the outline allows me to see again the good parts that I had created, but it also lets me see where I went astray. My chapters had some sense to them, and there was a general idea I was following, but I kind-of lost it midway through. At one point I tried to add in too many new characters. I must have thought that the original cast of characters was limited in some way. When I added more, I lost the original plot.

 

I can now see where I need to add additional material to take the story back to the original storyline. I can also see chapters that I will cut and characters that I will save for (hopefully) future books. This is all very exciting. I am not certain this will go anywhere, but it’s fun to think that it could.

 

My first steps are to continue with what I’ve got and to make sure there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. Even children’s stories need to make sense and either tell a tale or teach a lesson of some sort. I just hope that (some day) others enjoy what I’m creating.