The end of February is near and that makes it three months after I've typed the final few words of my NaNo project. I haven't looked at it since. Not because I didn't want to, but because I've been busy with three translations. And because I figured it might be a good idea to let the story rest. Completely.
By now I'm running out of excuses not to pick up my computer and settle down on the couch with my NaNo story. I already know a few things that I want to or should change - the only question being: how? What can I do to change the story to make it more exciting, give it more suspense and a better build-up to the final showdown (which also needs work), without rewriting the entire thing?
I've promised myself that I would open up my document and save it as a second file before making changes. It doesn't matter if I end up with twenty drafts (they're easily sortable by date anyway), but I don't want to cut, delete or lose anything I might regret later.
Another promise I've made is that I should remember that this version is a bare bones version of the story. It's the result of writing for three weeks straight, pouring out at least a general structure and a plot from beginning to end, no holding back. I am not allowed to rewrite the entire thing or delete it and start again. No way. I am only allowed to tweak, edit, fluff, shake loose, awaken en rearrange bits and pieces, and add whatever I think is necessary. Although the total should not exceed 100,000 words, and even 90,000 is a big enough book for a first time.
Do I think I'll ever see the day of getting Feather's story published? Ah... to be honest? No, not really. I might flatter myself and consider the option of self-publishing, but I doubt that a first attempt at writing is really good enough to get picked up by an actual publishing house that is probably swamped with manuscripts anyway. If anything, this story is my learning curve. And here's what I've learned so far:
- clear your head, make time for one story and let it develop in your mind
- write down ideas, rewrite them, look up some information that could be useful
- pick a day and start writing (NaNoWriMo is an excellent tool for that)
- write every day, no matter if it's one chapter or just one paragraph
- do not stop or quit until you are ready to add "the end" to your document
- let it rest for a while, either simmering in your head or blocked out completely
- once you're ready to look at it again and edit - be confident. This is your story and no one tells it better than you.