Saturday, October 12, 2013

How long did this take?

This is the blog where I get a little personal. 
I started the novel that I’ve been working on as a Nanowrimo back in 2011.  I made my 50K goal on Thanksgiving Day just before I was supposed to start stuffing the turkey.  I was pretty damn proud of myself and happy with making the goal, but the story was far from over.  Not even close.  But the Turkey turned out really amazing that year.  I cooked with some serious passion that year.  
 I kept working on the story through the rest of the month and put in another 6K words and it still wasn’t done.  When I got to December I wasn’t able to keep up with writing because of life being life during the holiday season and I set the story aside for several months. 

When I finally got back to work it was well into 2012 and I only got another 10K into it, so there I was at roughly 65K.  I’m was  thinking this thing is never going to be done.  I love the story, the characters, the world I’ve made.  I know exactly how it ends.   But getting there was a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.  Far more twists and turns that I ever expected there to be, as historical research changed the path a few times.  When October of 2012 approached I realized I should be preparing to write something new, but I wasn’t ready.  I also knew this book had another 50K worth of words to be written at least.  Well, it’s technically “cheating” to the Nanowrimo purists but this was what I needed to work on.  So I kept going with this story.  Kept up with word counts and everything except for when I had the flu.  Then back to business with my writing, right up until my cat kept vomiting up his food constantly.  Turned out he wasn’t a fat cat, he was all liver.  It was a mass of liver compressing his stomach.  We tried for surgery, but they found it was much worse than they thought.   He died before we could even bring him home.  That was right after Thanksgiving.  Didn’t finish the Nano, and didn’t write again for about three months.  
When I finally got back into the swing of things, I knew I needed better discipline and a schedule.  I set up a real office in my garage where I wasn’t going to be interrupted when I did sit down to write.  Or I’d have to leave the house.  The local Panera Bread is my other office.  Can’t deal with Starbucks, too crowded and there are no earbuds good enough to block out that many people drinking coffee and being hip.   
About a month ago I realized my story had a sequel.  Well, technically I tossed the idea out vaguely to a friend and to my dad six months ago and they didn’t hate it.  But a month ago I realized it definitely had to happen and I was at the turning point in the story where I needed to work specific characters in that would appear in the next book.   So, if I was going to do it, this was the time.  Well, that led me to restructuring the end and changing the beginning.  All of this made the whole thing stronger.  At least, I hope it does.  

This brings us to the end of September 2013 and just a few days before my birthday when I finished the book.   So, that’s two years to finish just one draft.   Just how it worked out for me.   I’m not sure how the pro’s who maintain a day job keep up the writing discipline.  It’s really hard.  But I do also take care of my 90 year old grandmother in addition to the day job. 
It's possible no one is interested in any of this, but here it is anyway.   Next time I'll write about something fun, like the never ending research spiral that is the internet.

Still raising  money for Night of Writing Dangerously.  Please consider donating, it's a good charity.  

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