So I accidentally started reading my first NaNoWriMo novel yesterday.
A couple of clarifications here:
- I’m not one of those people who has done NaNo since I was twelve,
- When I say “accidentally,” I don’t mean I fell in a hole and remarkably discovered my manuscript typed and tied together with a ribbon.
With that understood–
My manuscript is only about three years old. I did not intend to spend much longer than I should have getting engrossed in this weird steampunky thing that I have barely looked at since November 30, 2018.
I know we say as writers, “I wrote it. I can’t possibly forget it,” or some kind of endearing sentimental nonsense like that and it really feels true. I still think about my 2018 project a lot and even after three years can tell you the main plot points, who I like, who I don’t, what needs fleshing out, how it (probably) fits into the growing legendarium.
I forgot a lot of stuff.
- I forgot that I balked at a lot of the worldbuilding and just used “Saxon” and “Englishman” and Romani slang as insults because I am a lazy coward. It’s going to be an alternate universe now and I will reinvent what I need to.
- I forgot that I wrote this snarky mechanic girl entirely. How did I forget that? I love her. She needs a bigger role. Can I give her a bigger role? Please?
- I forgot that I apparently really like the name Florrie because I’ve now unwittingly used it twice, once for said snarky mechanic girl.
- I forgot that I left a pile of notes about what might happen/research/drafts I couldn’t bear to delete at the end of the document and scared myself into thinking I hadn’t actually written that heart-wrenching ending that I really thought I wrote–but okay, there it is, I can breathe now.
- I sort of forgot how many characters this thing has! Did I think I was building the Fellowship of the Ring? Twice?
There’s something about reading your old drafts that’s a little bit hypnotic. You come up feeling like you’ve just watched a sporting event or a chess competition, slightly dizzy, and wondering who won–the writer or the critic.
I love my hideous old draft. Someday it will be a book. A real book.
In the meantime, I made a beautiful synopsis mock-up that makes me sound like a brilliant creature and the book the greatest thing since Joel Ross’ The Lost Compass.
Writers, after all, can be pretty good liars. Especially if someday, somewhere, it just might be true.
Still reading Les Miserables, by the way. Eventually I’ll finish and review this gorgeous thing. Spoilers: I love it.
Oh, and BookmarkedOne is on Twitter now, by the way. Come visit me @bookmarkedone. I promise to talk about books…and probably not much else. Which is what happens when you get introverts to be social. Right?
Until then, happy reading.