Instead of writing more frequent blog entries these past few months, I’ve focused on finishing my first young adult novel. I say “first” as if there is going to be a second. Why not? Writing keeps me off the streets and out of trouble!
Two years ago I signed up to for Camp NaNoWriMo, which involves committing to write 30,000 or more words during the month of July. Each morning I sat down at the computer, but even though I had a story in mind (based on a historical figure I discovered while during some earlier research), the words didn’t flow from my fingertips as easily as I expected. After years of academic writing, I wondered if I still had an inner artist to release. By the end of the month, I had written 30,000 words, give or take a few.
I kept working on my novel, and in May 2015 patted myself on the back when I reached the end. Or so I thought. The next month I went to the University of Wisconsin’s Write By The Lake workshop and made an important discovery: I didn’t know the first thing about point of view, dialogue, character arcs, and other critical pieces of information you learn in creative writing classes. Sure, I’d written scholarly monographs and articles, but I’d never attempted fiction before. Talk about a steep learning curve!
Thanks to Kathy Steffen’s great workshop, “Writing Your First Novel, Fast and Furious,” and her helpful comments on my first few chapters, I left Wisconsin eager to resume work on my novel. There was one glitch. Kathy thought I needed more back story, in fact, a novel’s worth of background about my protagonist’s youth. I don’t recall her exact words, but they were something like “you have the makings of a series.”
Okay, I thought. I can do that. Sitting down at a blank computer screen, I let my character lead me to places I never anticipated. Accompanying me on the journey are members of the writing group several of us formed after Kathy’s workshop. But all journeys must come to an end. If this one doesn’t, July will mark the two-year anniversary of my work this YA novel. Yikes! To be honest, I am ready to move on to a new project.
This morning I finished revisions on Chapter 17 out of 20 and two of the final three chapters are in draft form. The end is in sight…but when will I reach the finish line? Your guess is as good as mine.
And I still need to come up with a title!