I did it, guys! I won my first NaNo! While this year’s writing didn’t always go quite the way I expected, I learned so much about my story, even if I doubt a whole lot of what I wrote will actually end up in the finished novel. But still, every word written was worth it because if I hadn’t done this, I have a feeling this story would NEVER have gotten written.
And now, on to Christine’s questions!
1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?
It was rocky at first, got a little better, went downhill, and then picked up spectacularly the very last week.
2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?
Oh, that’s a hard question! A little of both. However, actually writing through the story really made me see what is going to work plotwise, and what won’t. In a way, this draft became an epic brainstorming session on how to fix some very big plot holes and issues that I was struggling with in my outline. (I solved so many of them this month! The last week went so well because it seemed like I was FINALLY fixing all of the issues and uncertainties that have been plaguing this story from the beginning.)
3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)
All of Sebastian and Helena’s scenes were outrageously fun to write. Throwing them into situations where they have to work together despite all of their issues was immensely satisfying to me. Also, this novel gave me the opportunity to really pile on some Angst™ in certain scenes, and I’m a little concerned about how much I enjoyed that.
4. How about your least favorite part?
Oh boy. The hard part about writing characters who know the future is that I, in fact, do NOT know the future. Trying to brainstorm future gadgets, events, tragedies, politics, etc. is Not Fun for me. Also, writing accurately about current technology and realistic ways to say, break in to a house and steal something out of a safe, is frustrating because I want it to be plausible and people really will know if I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Also, I wrote this story in dual first-person perspectives, which MAY have been a mistake. While I love writing in my characters’ heads like that, I’m honestly not sure if it’s best for the story (and making their voices distinct is hard) so I don’t know if that’s going to be the final perspective that makes it into the novel.
5. What do you feel like needs the most work?
6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!
They are all dorks and I love them. So far, my antagonist has still been the most problematic, because even though I have his motivation down, he doesn’t have much personality, at least not in this draft. He just sort of says and does the things the plot needs him to do without any personal flair.
The most surprising has probably been Sebastian? Poor guy just really wants to think the best of everyone, and sometimes that really bites him.
The last week I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go (I’d written the last third, but the middle was still a mess) so I began writing flashback scenes and it revealed so much about the characters. Even if these flashbacks don’t make it into the final book, writing them was without a doubt the most productive thing that happened this NaNo.
7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?
I’m letting it rest until after I publish January Snow, but I would LOVE to work towards its publication within the next year or two (the book tentatively takes place in late 2020/early 2021, so that’s kind of the year I’m shooting for). However, it really does need almost an entirely new 1st draft, so I have a lot of work to do.
8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?
If anyone wants to turn this into a Netflix series, I would not complain….
9. Share some of your favorite snippets!
“Besides, how do you know their ultimate collapse isn’t part of my plan?”
My father’s guffaw was louder than I’d heard it recently; I’d have been gratified if he hadn’t been laughing at me.
“Sebastian,” he said, his laugh subsidizing into a rumbling cough before halting, “you’re honorable down to your bones. You’d die for Helena Moran before you’d betray her.”
I was offended “That is the most ridiculous exaggeration I’ve ever heard,” I said, flicking a crumb off of my sleeve. “I wouldn’t change a tire for Helena Moran, much less take a bullet for her.”
Moran started to walk towards it, but I flung my arm out and stopped her.
“There could be traps,” I said.
She shined her flashlight in my face in annoyance. “This isn’t the mummy’s tomb, Finch.”
Maintaining eye contact, I threw my glove across the room and it landed on the floor, shredded.
“Look at that,” I said. “Lasers.”
10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?
It’s always really encouraging to me to know that I can write this much this quickly. Sometimes I get bogged down in the “I must have INSPIRATION to wriiiite” mindset that pretty much just stops me from writing anything at all. Sometimes you just have to make yourself put down words before the inspiration gets there.
So there we go: another NaNo, closed. Once I reached that 50,000 mark, I told myself I’d give myself a week off of writing so I wouldn’t burn out. How long did that last before I started writing again?