Writing Marathon

I’ve taken the idea of the National Novel Writing Month for my own. Since June 8th, I’ve been writing at least 1500 words a day of a novel that I’ve been wanting to write for at least six years. As of today I have 16,064 words, which averages 2000 words a day. So I’m a little ahead of schedule. I was really stuck yesterday–I still managed to get 1500 words out, but just barely. I kept looking up things on the Internet because there are so many facts I have to check. I can see why John Grisham needs all the researchers that I read he employs in order to be as prolific as he is. It’s extremely time-consuming. Finally I just had to write some descriptions and let it go. Today I was back to primarily dialogue.

Is it working? I am getting down some ideas that have been percolating in my mind and I’ve gone in some directions I hadn’t planned ahead of time. The truth is, I didn’t have much planned before I started writing. So this is really a rough draft. But that’s what it’s meant to be, nothing more. I’ve discovered that I can crank out the words, but I still don’t know if I can shape them into something worth reading. But, first things first.

I got some books out of the library that are along similar lines as my novel. I also got out a lot of possible resource books. Twenty books in all! I’ve designated a corner of our living room as a reading nook. All the books are stacked behind my favorite armchair. Along with piles of papers and other books. My favorite pens are there, too, as well as a lot of scrap paper. (Do I have scrap paper!) The only problem I can foresee is that I’m going to have limited time to write over the next week, because my grandson is coming to visit. Maybe I can get some input from him about how my novel should go, even if he is only eight!

The main result of all this industry is that fiction is no longer the scary form I thought it was. I had myself convinced that I can’t write fiction, that my strong suit was essays and that’s it. But the truth is, I’d never really tried to write fiction except for when I was young enough not to be afraid of things of it. (Which means I was maybe between eight and twelve.) I still don’t know if I can write fiction, but at least I’m giving it a try, finally. Another result has been that I can’t read anything now without comparing my writing with the author I’m reading and trying to glean tips from it. I suppose I should have been reading like that all along, but I think it took this boost of writing activity to make me see that.

Just a few thoughts about the process. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.