Last month I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo for the second time this year. I originally intended to edit my NaNoWriMo novel last year but I realized that there were so many plot holes and the story was just so horrible! What was I thinking? I realized that if I wanted to make this story work I had to rewrite it. So I did.
There were scenes from the original draft that I included in the new version but there were some key parts to the story that I changed.
It was going really well until I hit the middle of the story. I was caught in the middle of writing and editing and it came to a point where I was afraid to type the words because I worried that the sentence would have grammatical errors. Basically, I was afraid to screw up! Which was crazy because I was rebuilding the story and this is another first draft. And first drafts are meant to be crappy.
I learned a valuable lesson in this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo: writing and editing at the same time isn’t for me.
I know of some writers who can’t help but go back to the previous paragraph to edit before writing another one. And it seems to work for them. But not for me. Writing while editing gives this pressure for every sentence, every paragraph to be grammatically perfect.
English is a funny and weird language. There are just so many rules! I’m prone to grammatical errors more than most because it’s not my first language (it’s actually my third language) but of all the languages I know, it’s the one that I use for writing novels and one that I know the most, in terms of grammar, composition and vocabulary. I try my best to correct myself during the editing phase but doing so while writing is just so HARD. It was so much easier to write from scratch than to revise an existing novel.
Despite the immense pressure that I inflicted upon myself during Camp NaNoWriMo, I was able to meet my 25,000-word count goal. But the novel was far from over. I revamped the plot, followed my beta readers’ advice, removed and added some characters. But there’s one final hiccup: the relationship between the main characters.
Whenever I write the interaction between the main characters, they lacked the spark! And the spark was very important in a romance story. I feel like I was missing something vital in their relationship. Does that sound weird?
Even though I created these characters they take a life all on their own. I spent the last month searching for that spark but I think I haven’t figured them out yet.
For now I just want to take a few months off writing and focus on other stuff, mainly learning new programming languages (I’ve got my eyes set on PHP and C#) and reading books. I’m going to participate in Bout of Books this month!
Camp NaNoWriMo July 2015 edition was fun but it wasn’t without some hiccups and bumps along the way, I also learned a valuable lesson: don’t edit while writing. And even though I didn’t finish revising my novel I’m happy that at least I hit my target word count. I don’t want to rush writing this particular novel, I believe that in time, I will be able to figure out my characters and what makes their relationship special.