I did my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge in November. The goal is to write 50000+ words in one month. I didn’t think that I would accomplish this since I am a slow writer, but it did get me started writing longer works.
Most of my creations are poems or short stories. I joke that I write short stories because of my attention span, but my stories seem to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later. Deciding to write a novel definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone.
When I read, I’ll often skim over longer descriptions and dialogue that I deem unnecessary (no offence to my fellow authors). Sometimes I am forced to go back if something doesn’t make sense, and my reading habits are usually the culprit.
So, I write how I read. Just get to the point and move on.
My novel started as a continuation of one of my short stories. At the end of November, I wasn’t even close, but I was pleased with what I had written up to that point. My characters were developing through their actions and words, there was suspense at the end of each chapter, and I had a good idea what the ending was going to be.
Sometimes I can write quite a bit in one sitting, other times, not so much.
I hit the 30 000 word mark last month. It’s been slowly creeping ahead ever since. The problem is that the ending is written, the characters have had their adventures and adversities. They have solved their problems (oops, spoiler alert…). The story in essence is finished.
So now I go back to fill in descriptions I feel are necessary, not for boosting word count—ok, maybe a little—but to create an engaging story for the reader. I am also going over the dialogue, trying to make it informative while keeping it realistic. Sometimes I find that extended speeches by a character seems unnatural, as most people need time and breaks to formulate their thoughts. I personally am not usually a prolific conversationalist, so that may have a lot to do with it.
I guess the question is: Would you like to read a novella or a novel?
Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.