I hate my novel.
Many of you pursuing your NaNoWriMo dreams may understand, just past the half-way point, that your lovely story has turned on you and become an albatross hanging ’round your neck.
“What happened?” you may ask. Nothing, really. This is supposedly a normal phase of writing experts describe in countless books to amateurs like me. Keep writing and the love will return.
I disagree. When my pink and wrinkly ‘baby’ was first born, umbilical cord severed with the words “The End”, I marveled at how it’s intricate subplots came together to form this testament to perseverance.
Now the pretty is gone. I’ve reworked my outline, coaxed the characters to speak in turn, as well as patched so many plot holes that the whole thing reeks of Bondo. It has reached the ‘terrible twos’ and become a monster that won’t stop crying for attention, turns everything I feed it to crap, and scampers off to get into mischief whenever my back is turned.
Where has the love gone?
When first conceived, my story was a world I imagined arising from the devastation of losing our digital way of life. Instead of the gloomy zombie filled post-apocalyptic tales saturating today’s markets, we didn’t surrender our humanity at the first sign of trouble and people banded together – not just to survive – but to reconnect society through shared moral values.
I think this is what the so-called experts meant by “theme”, but it is hard to tell when their nebulous term is applied like baby powder to every story element that chafes as you write.
Take Home Quiz:
Go over your story and describe why you fell in love with the idea of it enough to write it in the first place. Go ahead and be sloppy- I won’t grade you on spelling or grammar.
Use this description as a reference while you write/revise your work. The plot, characters, even setting may change as you go, but keep this picture in mind as your baby grows and it just might survive long enough to become ready for the world one day.