This morning, I was thinking about my novel in progress. I was thinking about where to go next with it. After all, none of this is planned. It’s developing for me only just before you see it. I thought this would be easy, since I can do anything I want with it (and clean up the mess later), but of course, that’s not the case. Because I have a very clear image of the character I’m writing, and because of the way she thinks and communicates, I am profoundly limited in what I can do. I had thought to create something moving and emotional, but I’m finding I have a really hard time doing that using the type of narrative I’m now locked into.
I came to the conclusion that I made a bad choice in choosing first-person narration for this story. There’s so much I can’t express, so many things I can’t do. How scary or tense can I really make things with that clear, matter-of-fact, direct formulation of statements? But then again, how else could this girl possibly tell her story? How else could I show how she thinks?
I thought about trying something different. Continuing the story in the third person, or adding a second narrator, or just killing off all the characters and picking up the story somewhere else. But then I realized I was being silly. I don’t need to write a perfect, polished novel here. It’s NaNoWriMo. The point is just to get something done. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not. It’s an exercise in discipline and in actually finishing what you start. What’s more, I know you can learn a lot by giving yourself restrictions. It forces you to be creative.
So I go back to my previous question: How scary or tense can I really make things with that clear, matter-of-face, direct formulation of statements? Well, it’s NaNoWriMo, and that means it’s time to find out. And regardless of whether I end up with a good story or not, I will most certainly have learned something.
To get the most out of this exercise, though, I really need your help. I need to hear what parts are good, what parts are interesting, what parts are awful and need to be cut right out of there. Are there any moments where you feel tense, worried, or afraid? Is the pace to slow, or too fast? It’s always nice to hear that people like my writing, but I’m really not writing this for praise or attention. I’m doing it to get back into the habit of writing for myself (not just for work), to practice and develop my writing skills, and to find out what I can accomplish when I push myself.
I’d also like to share a big source of inspiration and helpful tips that I’ve been following for a while. It’s a YouTube series called Extra Credits. It’s actually about video games and game design, but I’ve found it invaluable for many other things, especially writing and teaching. These two videos in particular have been very helpful in making this decision to carry on with the story, no matter how it turns out.