Me, my two notebooks,
pens, and Stumpy the PDX
19 hours, 56 minutes into NaNoWriMo.
I currently have 945 words.
Is it a glorious, flawless novel so far? No way.
Am I having fun? Absolutely. Am I learning anything?
Being a perfectionist when it comes to my work, I have to continually remind myself, "It's okay. It's the first draft. It's just the first draft. It's okay... (repeat ad nauseam)" Because, after all, how are you going to reach 50,000 words in 30 days if you keep editing everything?? I wouldn't even be able to meet my daily quota of 1,667! It's incredibly hard not to fuss and tweak and edit, but I'm doing my very best to resist temptation and fleshly desire :)
So... anybody want to hear about the novel??
The working title is Red Crosse, (I might be calling it RC here on the blog) and the main character is the grandson of Sir George the Red Cross Knight. No, he's not St. George yet. Just Sir George.
**In case you don't know who St. George is**
There are two versions of the story; one is based on a knight named George during the Crusades who, as the legend goes, saved a town in Turkey from a dragon. This St. George from whom the story came was, I believe, a real person who was a martyr.
The other, which I base my character off of, is from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book One.
It is an allegorical poem, the first of six books, and was for Queen Elizabeth I.
(For those interested in this story, there is a great picture-book adaption by Trina Schart Hyman that I love. It's called St. George and the Dragon, and the illustrations are by Margaret Hodges.)
To put it even briefer, Saint George killed a dragon and saved people and is now the patron saint of England.
Everybody got that? Okay, sweet, moving on...
So, the working plot summary (read outline that I hope I will be able to follow during this literary madness):
Set in the fairy-tale age of Britain, the grandson of St. George himself must confront the dragon that slew his father, and along the way he finds the security he needs in Jesus Christ.
Sorry it's so short. You'll hear more about the story as I write, I promise.
So... here's what I've learned so far...
1) Outlines are really good to have. Seriously; when you have to churn out a minimum of 1,667 a day and you don't have time to sit around and think, preparation really pays off. I've done everything from the one-sentence summary to the in-depth, detailed outline of a single scene.
2) Characterization can be difficult when you're trying to write as if you're NOT a 13-year-old, amateur novelist ;) I'm trying not to get hung up on my writing "voice" because I will be able to polish/edit/wrangle this draft after November is over. It takes a whole lot of self-control, though, let me tell you!
3) Watch the rhythm of your sentences. Read the last paragraph you wrote out to yourself. Are the syllables in each sentence pretty similar? Does the rhythm have some variety, or does each sentence sound just like the first?
4) Italian Wedding Soup for dinner is great for sparking creativity -- thanks Mom!
5) When you know that you can't afford time staring at the wall trying to think out your story, and even when you can afford to do it, stop. Just go, whip out your pen/pencil & notebook, or your laptop, and just start writing. Sometimes the best ideas come when you're flying by the seat of your pants (Mom-- and sometimes the best meals! :P)
I'm nervous-- nervous that I started writing this story, nervous as to what it will be, come Nov. 30th. But I'm also way thrilled. I have the barest of plot guidelines, and I'm wondering how close I will be able to stick to it this month. Even if I don't stick to the plan, I know it will be an exciting ride.
And also, something to look forward to: once I pass the 4,000 word mark, I'll post an excerpt! How fun is that??
Well, I regret to say I must bid you all adieu-- Treasure Planet music is blaring my ears, my notes are scattered across my desk, calling to me, and Word Document is bouncing up and down on the dock in anticipation. My literary adventure must resume!