Did you know, it’s seven years since I joined WordPress? It’s funny — it feels both longer ago than that, and much more recent. For example, I was sure I had a blog before I started NaNoWriMo for the first time, in 2009, but if I didn’t join WordPress until nearly the end of November, I obviously didn’t. Perhaps I created it in the wake of my first year of NaNo success, still riding the high of finishing my first of many terrible novels.
Whatever my reasons — and I really don’t remember why I created that first blog — it’s a lifetime ago that I sat in the school library writing posts about my Irish dancing classes. I started my blog a couple of months after I got my braces off, at the start of year nine, but while I still had a fairly terrible hairstyle because I was growing out a misguided bob. I was such a different person then. Funny to think about it.
It’s not even what I was going to blog about, but when I finally got around to opening my browser today (I’ve been shockingly unproductive for several days now), WordPress popped up with a notification to tell me it was my blog anniversary, and I guess I just got distracted thinking about that. So. Fancy that. Seven years.
I actually opened up my blog because I realised I didn’t give you guys an update when I finished NaNoWriMo, despite my earlier blogging about it. And that seemed wrong, somehow, since you were all so encouraging when I was flagging earlier in the month. So here I am to tell you that on Saturday, I finally crossed the fifty thousand word mark, later in the month than any previous year except possibly last year.
I could definitely have done it faster — my month was characterised by sad plateaus in my wordcount graph where I failed to write anything for several days in a row, and then brief bursts of activity. It was a difficult month, and the end product was … well, of dubious quality. It’s certainly not worthless (any writing is practice, and I think there’s something salvageable in this novel), but it’s neither complete nor well-written, it’s just fifty thousand words of something that might be a novel when it grows up.
I’m going to put Happy Gay Magical Novel away for the moment, let it stew on my harddrive, because I don’t think I’m in the right brainspace to keep writing it. If I’ll try, I’ll just end up resenting it and myself. And I’m itching to work on something else, specifically to redraft the first Death and Fairies book. I’ve got a second draft mouldering away in a folder and the first five chapters of a third, written earlier this year, nagging me for attention. They’re incomplete and rough, but they’re infinitely better than their predecssors, so I’m in the mood to work on them.
I’ve done a lot of worldbuilding since I last actually wrote anything for Death and Fairies. I mean, that was inevitable once I started working on the Tuatha De Danann for dissertation-related reasons, wasn’t it? I’ve completely deconstructed a lot of the ideas I previously had about how my fairy world works, and then built it up again from the bottom. I’ve changed various elements of the characters, some of them utterly integral to their personality and their role in the plot. I’ve renamed people and places and fiddled around with magic and appearances and I still don’t know what terminology I’m going to use.
(Apparently once you’ve read half a dozen academics’ thoughts on the word síd and its various connotations, it’s no longer easy to just borrow the term ‘sidhe’ because every urban fantasy book you’ve read about fairies has used it. I need to decide what I’m going to go with, and why, and stick with it. Sadly, my research has actually made decisions harder.)
I’ve also written a lot of bits and pieces for later in the series — chapters that have popped into my head that I feel inform my understanding of the characters and their relationships, and random scenes that will fit somewhere but I don’t know where, and a couple of things I wrote just for fun that may or may not actually happen in the books. Also an attempt at a sex scene, that will only ever go in a book if I figure out how to put it there without embarrassing myself. That was an interesting one to write.
Going back to book one with that knowledge is a funny experience, as is rereading my second draft with the knowledge of everything I’m going to change about the essential worldbuilding. It’s like watching a film with a slightly different version overlaying it, and occasionally they diverge completely. A weird double-layer of understanding that can be a bit tricky to work with at times. But I think it’ll make a good project for the Christmas break.
You know, along with my dissertation, long coursework essay, and a ton of Old Irish translation. Plenty of time to thoroughly rewrite a book. I’m sure it’ll go fine.
I’m not sure how much I enjoyed NaNoWriMo this year. I’m not sorry that I did it, even if it was a drag at times and a pressure to get words on paper when I really didn’t feel like it. I don’t think I would have written anything if I hadn’t committed to it, after all. But I don’t think there’s any value in sticking with this book when I’m not feeling it right now. I’ll leave it until I don’t remember what I wrote, and then I’ll go back and try and excavate a plot from the mess, and finish it. If I don’t find one, I guess I’ll just reuse some of the characters and jokes for something else, because I don’t want to scrap them entirely.
So that’s the plan.
Here’s to that, and to the next seven years of ramblings and writing. What about you? Any NaNo participants want to share their stories and experiences? You’ve still got more than twenty-four hours if you haven’t hit 50k yet, so it’s not time to give up. :)