I have wanted to write novels for a long time now, but the longest work I’ve ever completed was a novella that I wrote for a high school creative writing class in 2001. I think it was about 40 pages, so close to 20,000 words if I single spaced it, as I was wont to do. It was about a gay teen dealing with coming out, and I haven’t read it for many years, based on the certainty that it, like most teenaged writing, sucks.
Since then, I’ve written a good number of short stories and awful poetry, and started a great many more stories of varying lengths that were never completed. In October of 2010, a few months before I came to my current job, I was in the process of writing a novel, mostly during my lunch hour at work. I was inspired by NaNoWriMo, though I chose not to try and fit my efforts into a single month. I did borrow the bar from them though, and decided that I would write 50,000 words and see where that got me.
The rigors of learning my new job, and the change in lunch environment and schedule conspired to halt my work on that story when it was a little over 46,000 words long. I haven’t touched it since June of 2011.
I want to write a novel, so that, no matter how awful it is, I will have at least written my first and gotten it over with. This story, being the longest unfinished work I had on file was the perfect lazy option. A mere 4,000 words from the 50,000 mark – how hard could it be? It doesn’t matter how crappy the thing is, I can surely complete it and have it at a decent wordage and feel like I’ve done the big scary novel thing. Once I’ve done it once, I will be more prepared to do it again, only better.
I actually opened up the file on Sunday, but I didn’t start reading it until today.
And when I did, I was shocked.
It doesn’t completely suck.
At least, not as much as I was expecting it to.
I can see places that I think could be improved, and, better yet, I can think of ways that I might actually improve it. I’m already considering how a change of tense or person (perhaps both) would take it in a better direction, but for right now, I’m just going to finish rereading it. I’m going to take notes along the way so I don’t repeat myself when it comes time to start adding more words until the story is done. Then I’m going to keep adding words until I’ve built a complete structure that stands by itself, no matter how much of an eyesore it ends up being.
I’m going to finish my first novel, so I can get started on my next one.
I’ll post Part 2 when I’ve finished the first draft.