Nanowrimo 2017

My first foray into writing a novel
Created: Saturday, January 6, 2018

My first novel

November is the month where people are challenged to write 50 thousand words, to create a novel. I read a lot, around a 100 books a year. I have always enjoyed storytelling, but could i write a novel?

I had no idea what 50 thousand words would look like. I have read many a book that was beyond this figure, but i had no practical knowledge of how to construct a story to meet that requirement. I did however have a germ of an idea for the story.

The Idea

I wanted to create a story that would be essentially an invasion from another dimension. I wanted to have 4 point of view characters of different nationalities, sex, age and geographical location. I also wanted to introduce some sort of mental health element to the story as well, as my personal knowledge of this is fairly weak. I am also a fan of the underdog being heroes, and heroes being rubbish.

With this germ of an idea i started to plan the novel. Now, when i say i started to plan the novel i really mean i jotted down a couple of ideas. I really had no idea where the story would lead or end - would they stop the invasion, or would they get wiped out. I also had no idea on character progression either - who would live and who would die.

I did know that there were two sides to the invasion force, and both sides wanted the help of us humans.

Well, that should be fine.

The writing

The writing started on the 1st November 2017, and i wrote a lot. 50000 words is roughly 1666 words a day, and i wrote approx 2500. I was on holiday at the time, so that helped me out. I did a little more the following day, followed by a whopping 5000 on the third day. After three days i was just over 10k words written. This writing was a doddle - what were all those authors doing?

Then i started to read what i had written and it was essentially garbage. I was all over the place and there were sections missing, such as some basic description of my characters and where they physically were. I knew this information of course, but the reader wouldn't. A little refactoring of the written word, and i was happy with the result.

More words followed, and i completed the 50 thousand words about 5 days before the end of the month. The only problem was, i was now not happy with the story.

The feedback

It has now been just over a month since i finished the book, and i have decided that i will not go back to the work in its current state. It would require far too much work, and i want to start from a blank sheet again.

The challenge was an eye opener. It takes a lot of hard work to create a novel, and most of it is NOT the actual writing. Preparing what you would like to write, doing the research and proof reading, editing etc all takes time.

The objective was never to create something that i could sell. A bonus if it could, but the primary reason was to know how much time and effort an author put into their work. I know a month is not enough to full appreciate it, but i have gained respect for the work they do. I know that i will not like all the books i read, but instead of leaving a horrible review, i will leave a review that explains why i didn't like it, so the author can determine if my review is worth his time (they may be writing a YA book, and being middle aged, i am not the target audience).

All in all, i loved this challenge and i WILL be doing it again next year. To that end, i am preparing the ideas and getting the research done now. I am also planning a number of other books i will write. These again will be used to improve my writing skills, rather than make any money, but i would like to look at self publishing one of them to see what is involved.