I am 7,301 words behind where I am supposed to be for FebNoWriMo. The main reason I am not freaking out about that is because I finally did what I was supposed to do a month ago: I finished draft 2 of Tilt Your Head and Smile. I can’t believe I finally did it. I actually mostly like the ending. I managed to include a scene I had meant to include earlier but never got around to. It actually works much better where it is now.
This draft is 101,484 words long. The original draft was 103,000 words. Considering the first month of this draft was about 14k, I am extremely glad that this draft is a bit shorter than the original. I was afraid it was going to end up being 200,000 words or something like that. I know I am going to have a lot of editing to do with this draft, but I definitely have the events in order now, and I’m proud of the work I’ve accomplished so far. I’m just going to let this one sit for a few months before I edit, though. I think part of my problem this time was that I didn’t let it sit for long enough between the first and second drafts.
I had several other problems writing this, but I think I have a better grasp on what I need to do now. Part of my problem – perhaps the biggest one I have as a writer – is that I keep trying to include too much. I’ve had this problem since I started writing in second grade. I still have that first “novel” I wrote, where a family was going on a camping trip and found a leopard (and the main character’s long lost twin brother. It was a really bad story.). In it, I listed everything that each family member had brought with them, even though it wasn’t relevant to the story at all.
I don’t do that same thing anymore, but I still have the problem of including too much information. I’ve always had a problem writing description, so I think I overcompensate a bit by including other details that aren’t as important. I can’t just write April parked her car and walked up to the front door; I have to write April parked her car. She turned off the ignition and got out of the car, locking the door behind her. Then she turned and walked up the steps to the front door. I don’t do it to pad my word count; I do it because some part of me is afraid of leaving out details. It’s stupid on so many different levels that it’s not even funny, but that’s how I write. I don’t include physical descriptions of my characters. I don’t describe their surroundings. But I write down each little thing that they do and every thought that passes through their heads.
It’s crazy. That’s part of why I feel that this 52 books in 52 weeks challenge is so important. The more I read other novels, the more I’m learning what I can and can’t leave out. It’s stupid that I’m almost twenty-three years old and haven’t learned that yet, but that’s okay. I’m definitely getting better at writing. I just need to work on it a bit more and stop writing down small details. I think I had more trouble writing this one than I have other stories because there’s not really a strong plotline to balance out the characters’ thoughts. The novel’s about a college graduate facing unemployment. There’s not really much going on but having April sitting alone in a room thinking about things.
Anyway, I still have a lot to write tonight. I also have to make a birthday cake for my boyfriend’s mother, so I know I won’t get it all done tonight. Since I get to wake up late tomorrow, though, I’m planning on getting at least 3k more written tonight. I’m hoping I can get caught back up tomorrow since all I have between 8 am and 5 pm is an hour meeting at work. After that, I plan on getting a lot more writing done.
I still haven’t decided which story I’m going to work on next. The original plan was to work on The Story of Em, which was my 50k weekend novel. However, now I also have the novel I started last month and the fan fiction piece I started during NaNo when I was stuck. I’m not sure which of the three I will focus on first. Maybe it’ll just be the first file I come across. Who knows? As long as I’m writing something, I’ll be happy.