Thursday, May 23, 2013

Writing a Novel: Part 1

Just recently, someone asked me how I got my book published. I thought that others of you might also be curious, so I thought I'd write a blog post about it. If you have followed my blog since November, you might already know a little about it. But in case you didn't, here's the story...

It started over a year ago when I saw that one of my friends had written a novel. Like most people, I was very surprised, especially since she was younger than me. I asked her how on earth she had written such a long book, and she told me it was a competition she entered. I didn't really know what that meant, but it sounded interesting.

Then, in October 2012, (I believe it was the day before Halloween) I saw this same friend, (along with two other people I know) were getting ready to write another novel. This time, I saw the name of the competition, NaNoWriMo. I looked it up online, and found a very user friendly website that was suppose to guide you into writing a novel in one month. I thought that was a crazy goal, but I decided to sign up anyway. The worst thing that could happen would be that I start, but don't finish.

I texted my friend Crystal, who was also really into writing, and asked her if she wanted to do this with me. If you know Crystal, then you know she doesn't back away from things easily. She accepted the challenge.

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to write about. Especially something that had to be 50,000 words long. But the next day, I started outlining a story plot. It was based on a dream I had had over the summer. It was kind of a Middle Ages version of the Biblical book of First Samuel.

So once November 1st hit, I started writing. And to my surprise, it was harder than I thought. I couldn't seem to come up with something that sounded good. So when I checked in with Crystal later that night and found out she was WAY ahead of schedule, I felt like quitting, since I wasn't even halfway where I was suppose to be. But she encouraged me to continue writing, because we said we were going to try to finish together.

The next day I had the same problem. Every time I wrote something, I ended up deleting half of it because it didn't sound right. So that night, I decided to do something completely unheard of...I erased all of my work. (Not that it was a lot, or anything, but it was about two thousand words.)

I thought I was crazy. Crystal thought I was crazy. But I thought of an idea. I decided to start a completely different story. So around nine O'clock that night, I started writing. And by midnight, I had gotten ahead of schedule. This story was about a family of sisters living on the west coast during the late 18 hundreds. And unlike the last story, this one came much easier.

I worked on that story all month long. Some days I'd fall behind because I couldn't find time to write that day. Other times I got far ahead because I had nothing better to do than write. By November 27th, I was only two thousand words away from my goal. Crystal supported me the whole time, and that night, I was able to reach my goal of 50,000 words. I had won.

Since Crystal lives in the Central Time Zone, she had one extra hour to finish writing. And because of that, we were both able to finish our books in the same day.

I spent the next day finishing up the book. I had reached my goal, but I still had a few more chapters to write. But once I had typed "The End," I saved my file, turned off my computer, and fell asleep.

The writing was only the beginning. I had no idea how much more work I'd have to put into that book. But I was so happy that I had finished something so big. In my next post I will talk about the editing and publishing process.

Also, if you're interested in participating in NaNoWriMo this November, or their free online summer camp, you can get all that information at www.ywp.nanowrimo.com

~Sam

3 comments:

Crystal Bush said...

I think we took turns falling behind because some days I would be 5,000 words ahead of you and the next you'd be 10,000 words ahead of me! Lol I think we were trying to keep up with each other and over estimating how much the other one had done... Haha

Anonymous said...

That's a really interesting story. I tried to do it last year, but the registration confused me then. Now I think I got it. And I am excited.

Your friendly writer,

Lee

Brittney Ann said...

Great post! I can't wait for your next one =)