92,000 words. 92,000. And I’m. Still. Not. Finished.
It’s not that word or page count matters. Quantity doesn’t make or break a story. I’m actually afraid it’s getting too long. I know I’m going to cut some things out when I go back in for edits, but at the moment, I’m just trying to fill in all the gaps and finally have a finished book to work with.
Yesterday was a really good day, story-wise. I struggled through my daily 1K, as I have been lately: I’m just tired, there’s a lot going on and I’m ready to set this thing aside for a week. But, in working sort of backwards (it’s the beginning I’m having the most trouble with, so I’m saving that for last) I finally found myself at another worrisome point: the point my narrator has to fall apart.
Basically, she’s not an emotional person, at all. That’s the whole point. So in order for her to change significantly from the person she is in the beginning, she has to be an emotional wreck for a chapter or so toward the end. Which is fine, except as I was writing pieces of it a few months ago, I felt like it went on much too long.
I felt like I was rewriting a Twilight book. Yeah. That kind of worrisome.
If you haven’t read the second Twilight book (or any of the series for that matter), the story literally skips about four months in a row because Bella absolutely cannot handle being apart from her boyfriend.
This is not what I wanted to happen in my story, but writing this series of scenes made me feel like that’s what it was turning into. And obviously I wasn’t okay with that. My character isn’t supposed to be dependent on anyone, not enough to stop functioning as soon as she loses someone she cares about.
I turns out that, though it took me awhile to put these really rough scenes together, the worst of it only makes up about four or five pages, and it’s all important, I promise. She spends a lot of time with her dad and learning more about her mother. It’s good stuff. Just sad.
I’ve spent enough time with these characters over the past three years that it actually makes me sad when they’re sad. It’s not a terrible thing. I think it makes the emotion, when it’s there, more authentic. It’s hard for them to interpret and process emotions, for reasons you’d learn more about if you ever got a chance to read the book, so when they do start to understand and feel them, it shakes them up. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
My narrator learns a lot from this point in the story, as we all do when we break ourselves down to basically nothing. I’m just glad it didn’t turn out as awful as I thought it would. She’s not devastated because her boyfriend left. She’s devastated because she’s afraid of how it feels to grieve. She doesn’t fully understand it.
Hopefully by this time next week I’ll finally be finishing up. I mean it this time, I’m really close. I’m not trying to make it perfect, I just need something I can work with, something I can fine tune, something I can use when I start looking for an agent. It’s a slow, exhausting process. But I’m ready to say goodbye to my first draft. It’s been so long. Maybe too long.
Thanks for sticking with me. I promise, what I have to offer is so much more sustainable than vampires and werewolves.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.