Last year I made it to the finish line. I ended up with 50,000 words. A novel. A hot-mess of a novel, and unfinished...my story had not come to a conclusion.
Because I was the kid who defied her mother and always played tackle (not touch) football...Because I was the teenager who refused to wear anything except overalls...Because I was the woman who never even owned a lipstick until she was in her late forties...I've become known as a rebellious spirit. And so doing NaNoWriMo 2013 as a “NaNo Rebel” made perfect sense.
I could have started a new manuscript, but why? I was already invested in the story from last year, and had worked on it during the rest of the next year, adding (a paltry) 10,000 words to it. But still, it was not finished. So, I decided to do NaNo 2013, but I was going to work on filling in the holes (holes the size of the Grand Canyon) of my 2012 NaNo. Once November began, I was officially a rebel yet again...
Now that November is almost over (as I write this), I have resigned myself to being a loser. I was not even close to tapping out 50,000 words; I wrote more like 20,000. Still, I have not gotten to the end, but I think I know how it's going to end. Still there are huge plot holes (holes as big as my butt). And yet as I cheer on my friends who have succeeded, leaving me behind in the dust, I still feel like I was victorious, and here's why:
• I have gotten closer to the end...not there yet, but I've got more than a glimmer of how I will close out this tale.
• I've “discovered” the connecting thread. When I first began this story, it was fairly two-dimensional. However, after going to my annual writing retreat in Conception, Missouri (where wonderful ideas are conceived, I like to think) and after doing a “mock” pitch at a writer's guild meeting, I realized I didn't really have—at the core of the story—a plot line that would make non-writers care. (This project of mine is about writers.) Now, I have a thread that I'm weaving in, here and there, to what I wrote a year ago.
• I didn't “cheat.” I didn't avoid contractions (“do not” is better than “don't” to some NaNo-ers—double the word count), and I didn't write the names of 5,000 people who became zombies (one NaNo writer did that). What I did was simply work on my story.
Now, the goal is to finish my manuscript, so I can start revising in February. There's another writing retreat in the works and a conference, both this upcoming Spring.
And this time when I make a pitch, I want to be ready to hurl a true winner to an editor...
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Sioux Roslawski is a third grade teacher in St. Louis and freelances in her spare time. Her stories have appeared in seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books (an 8th has made it to the final stage; Sioux's fingers are crossed) and more musings can be found at http://siouxspage.blogspot.com.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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