So I am slugging my way through the beginning of NaNo, the November novel writing marathon that has so many authors right now making great progress in their writing and overdosing on caffeine. I have been working on revising my YA novel (technically a violation of the NaNo rules – shhhh!) and have been finding it surprisingly difficult to get back into. Since the last time I worked on this novel, I’ve written a whole other book – a very, very different kind of book. A dark, gritty, sexy urban fantasy. And now I have to switch gears again.
It’s as though my YA novel is my old boyfriend that I’ve come back to after a semester of studying abroad in some exotic location. I’ve changed – my writing has (I think) matured and changed dramatically since two years ago, when I put this novel in the drawer. I’ve experienced new things (read: I’ve written sex scenes.) My YA novel is exactly the way it was when I put it away in utter frustration awhile ago: sort of sweet, fuzzy around the edges, lacking a clear idea of where its headed. And now we’re looking at each other uncertainly, wondering if this relationship can still work. That’s where I think Nano can really help me; it is forcing me to stop thinking about whether this is working, and just WRITE already. And the more I plug away at it, the more I remember why I wrote this book in the first place. Slowly, I’m starting to fall back in love with the characters that used to keep me awake at night, back when I was first dreaming up this crazy book.
Also, I’m changing it. Lots. I’m switching from first person narration to third, but that is the easiest change. I’m making lives harder and more messed up. I’m raising the stakes for my characters. I’m making their lives more difficult. (Envision me here, rubbing my hands together and laughing maniacally.) And I feel the novel waking up a little. Unlike me – I am terribly sleep deprived. But it is the novel that matters!! And it is a big relief to think that maybe the three years (THREE!) that I spent working on the damn thing weren’t a waste after all.
I can’t write more now – I have to focus on writing words that go towards my NaNo goal. If you are also caught up in the writing frenzy, I wish you lots of inspiration and success. If you are watching from the sidelines, think about joining us the next time around. This is kind of fun.