I Tried Writing a Book

WHOA, looks who’s back?

(It’s me. I’m back)

It’s been over a month since I filled your feed with nonsense and emotional ramblings. So, where have I have I been? I’ve been writing a book!

Or rather, trying to.

For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, if you’re feeling crazy). People all over the country make a pact to write a 50,000-word novel in the thirty days of November. There are checkpoints and meet-ups and bunch of other really cool stuff for those who want to jump-start their creative juices and get some words on paper. It’s not about writing something polished (or even good). It’s about committing to a writing goal.

For the past two years, I’ve told myself that I was going to do it. I was going to sign-up, commit, and conquer, because that’s the kind of person I am. Not the committing and conquering kind of person. The signing up kind of person. In both 2015 and 2016, I registered, I uploaded my book title, and then for thirty whole days, I didn’t write a damn word.

So this year, I promised myself it would be different. I wasn’t the same Kierstyn as I was a year ago. I was older, wiser, better hair, more determined.

At the beginning of October, I wrote out a three-page summary of my book idea. I printed character sheets. I researched the time period and the town I wanted to place it in. I met November 1st with outlines in hand. And you know what? I wrote!

…….10,000 words.

Then I got super bored with the character I was developing and also realized the central theme of the story wasn’t quite interesting enough to keep someone engaged for 50,000 words. Also, I noticed that I was writing super descriptive sentences just to eat up some of the word count.

“One rack held the magazines that women would grab on their way home from church that Sunday morning and read in the car, with a cigarette between their lips and the occasional “Hmmm” to let their husbands know they heard them complaining about the traffic down Main Street.”

Could have said: One rack held magazines. 

These realizations made me see the difficulty in writing a novel. It’s nearly impossible to dedicate hours and days of your time to something that you aren’t 100% crazy about. I’ve always written short stories. So, I figured I could just take all of the same tools I use for that and write something longer. The difference is that in a short story, when the protagonist gets boring or the story gets stuck, you can just end it. There’s no copout with a novel. I needed to find a solution to my shitty storyline and until yesterday, I couldn’t.

Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk and an idea for what happens next just flew into my brain and my fingers were a flurry as I pushed the story forward. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the 50,000 mark, but that’s okay.

Stories don’t always come in a constant stream. They are often flashes that appear when you don’t expect them and fade away before you have a chance to grab a pen. Novelists sometimes write their book for years before the whole story is revealed to them. The whole purpose of this exercise is to get the flashes started and keep them coming.

Though, I bow down to those who did meet the goal. I am very impressed!

I’m not giving up on my shitty novel just yet. It might take me a while, but I plan to work on it until I run the idea into the ground. Whether that’s 20,000 words or 60,000. Maybe I’ll get ’em next year.

However, because mama didn’t raise a quitter, I did finish something this month. Since the novel thing was…..slow progress, I was working on another book in tandem. A book of poems, to be exact. A collection of pieces I’ve written over the past six months around a common theme and I plan post through The Hullabaloo sometime in the next week or two. So, if you like poetry (or just like me and want to make me feel better about myself), keep an eye out for that.

Until then, I will return to your regularly posted nonsense here on the Hullaballoo.