20/01/2015

NaNo, From After the Finish Line {The Birdie Writes}


 

NaNoWriMo finished and all I got was this lousy novel.

Except it's not lousy. I'm actually quite proud of it.

For those of you who struggle to remember the faraway land of November 2014, I took part in NaNo for the first time and ended up doing something pretty magical: I finished a novel I've been working on for years. Seriously, years. 

There's still a lot to be done – I'm in the editing stages right now and am changing SO MUCH it's ridiculous, but but BUT I still did it. I finished.

So I'm finally posting the final part of the Beautiful Books linky, which has been a three-part questionnaire all about my writing process during NaNo. You can find the other two here and here, if you're curious! 

I'm super late with this post, I know, but I've also been super busy lately. Better late than never though, right? 
 

On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?

A SOLID NINE.

I'm not even exaggerating! 

I love how my characters evolved and my plot spiderwebbed into something more intricate than I imagined.

Now that I'm editing and adding even more craziness in, I know it'll be a ten once I'm done.

Well, for me anyway. But hopefully a ten for everyone else too!



Have you ever rewritten or editing one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? 

Editing is my favourite part of the writing process because, man, FIRST DRAFTS ARE HARD.

Editing is super fun though, because you get to fine tune it and make it perfect. I love that. And I love how I always get new bursts of inspiration!

I normally edit constantly as I go anyway (awful habit, I know), so I'm pretty used to it. Plus I'm a proofreader / copywriter by trade, so I'm pretty used to revisions. 


What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 

Between 90,000 – 100,000. When I finished NaNo, it was closer to the 100 mark, but I'm a third of the way through editing, chopping bits off and adding bits in, and it's now closer to the 90. 

 
What’s are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing? 

Characters, by far. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my plot but my characters are my babies and legit my favourite people I've ever written. 

Each relationship is complex and each character has a different kind of chemistry with every other character and DID I MENTION I JUST LOVE THEM, OKAY?



What aspect of your book needs the most work? 

The ending, for sure. 

I've got the beginning nailed, I've got the middle halfway to exactly where I want it to be, but the ending is what needs most of the work. 

Mostly, because I've changed a lot in terms of plot and characters, so the current ending doesn't fit the story any more and chunks of it need to be rewritten.

 
What aspect of your book is your favourite? 

The relationship between Daigo and Celia! They were originally supposed to be more side characters, but exploded into the main cast and turned this into an ensemble book (it's better that way, trust me).

The two of them are awful and wonderful together and their animosity toward each other, peppered with the smallest grains of ILOVEYOUTOOMUCHTOBREATHE is so much fun to write about. 


How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out? 

My characters are awesome, because they're made by me and I am awesome (I kid, I kid . . . kind of).

Really though, I love them dearly and because of them my plot has changed and twisted so much more than I planned. 

They demanded intricacy and I did what they wanted because they know magic and I was scared to disobey for fear of being turned into ash or something. 


If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? 

Probably, nothing. 

Possibly, having thought of the new spins on the plot a little sooner. 


Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad? 

The new fantasy twist was a pleasant surprise. 

You see, originally this was supposed to be more of a suspense / thriller, with lots of action and horrible people and even more horrible dead people.

BUT THEN.

Then it slowly morphed into a world of magic and fantasy and spirit summoners and quests for family and truth and SO MANY OTHER COOL THINGS I'M LOVING ADDING IN DURING EDITING. 

In short, lots of things turned out differently. And I'm grateful. 


What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more? 

A lot was surprisingly about the power of friendship and family and about cherishing those relationships. It was also a lot about magic and ghosts but, still, the family thing is important too.

And it's about the beauty of the world and how wondrous life can be, even if it can be awful too. It's about keeping an open-mind and just knowing the power of believing; how anything is possible if you believe it.

It was also a lot about magic and ghosts but, still, the believing thing is important too.

 
Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes? 

A deadline encourages me to get my butt into gear and quit stalling, so I like having one of those. Of course, it then puts pressure on me and causes me to eat lots of cake. 

But I like cake too, so that's fine.

 
Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.) 

I suppose it's Raven Boys meets Paper Towns meets (Don't You) Forget About Me. Because there's quests, and awesomely funny character interactions, and some intense craziness.

It's also a little like Supernatural meets Charmed meets Veronica Mars. Because there's evil / creepy things, and lots of magic, and some super sleuthing.


How do you celebrate a finished novel?! 

It's pretty much the same way I celebrate the ending of every day beginning with a Y: EATING LOTS OF CHOCOLATE.

I'll also cry tears of joy and then reward myself with marathons of my favourite TV shows.

And then I'll realise I've missed something out of my novel and go back to do more editing. 


When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to have?

I call this, The Pyramid of Feels:

 
 



Anybody else survive NaNo? Were you proud of what you accomplished by the end? And for those that didn't take part, do you ever plan to?



 

Allie is currently suffering from a mysterious illness and hopes she'll stop throwing up any minute now. Mostly, because she'd like to eat something. Also, because trying to write with a bucket in her hand is not easy. And it's definitely not all that attractive.
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44 comments:

  1. I love the sound of this! There's nothing better than writing something when you think, "Hey, this isn't too bad. Actually, this is quite good!" I survived my second NaNo in November. I still need to edit it, because I edited my Camp NaNo novel first, but I really like it so far, especially the characters. They take me to Chuckle Town.

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    1. Yep :) and after years working on this, it was good to finally have it find its shape!!

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  2. It sounds like NaNo went WONDERFULLY for you. Hooray for finishing big books! Characters are my favorite part of any book, and so to me creating lovable characters is one of the biggest accomplishments a writer could achieve. Congrats!

    I did NaNo for the first time this year as well. My novel needs LOTS of editing. However I am glad I did it because was able to hash out the first draft of a book that has been sitting at the back of my brain for too long.

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    1. It really, really did. I was so proud with how much progress I made and how so many new aspects exploded into the novel. It was really fulfilling :)

      That's me exactly too! Editing is the fun part, it's the first draft that's the hardest and NaNo was so awesome at helping me whack that out!

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  3. Congrats on getting this written and being proud of it. That is just awesome!!

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  4. It seems NaNo went really well for you, so yay you! It must be a really great feeling, to love your own work and actually be proud of it. And lots of horrible/dead people? SOLD.

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    1. For so long I struggled with it, thinking that maybe I'd never get it all down and the idea wasn't worth it's salt, so NaNo just completely rocked me and restored my faith in an idea I've wanted to bring to life for so long :D

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  5. AH! I can't wait to read it! Seriously. I'll be the first to buy. What genre are you writing in?

    I like first drafts to some extent, but drafts 2-5 just annoy me because I delete and rewrite so much. It's good because it adds layers that generally add up to a good, more complex novel for people to like. But man, it feels like a waste of time!

    I'm so excited for you, Let me know if you need a beta reader.

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    1. HONESTLY YOU ARE TOO AWESOME FOR WORDS, LOVE <3

      Ahh see, drafting is the most relaxing part for me. I find going over bits and nipping and tucking and rewriting quite therapeutic. First drafts just absolutely kill me; they're the hardest because I feel like there's just SO much to get down it can be daunting

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  6. Great post! I haven't been a part of the Nano but heard some awesome stories

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    1. If you like writing, it's a good shout to take part! I really enjoyed how fun and friendly it is.

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  7. It's great that your novel came out so wonderfully. I love my characters, too, and like you, I LOVE editing. I can't really write in long bursts of time, but I could edit forever and ever and ever. Your beginning has me intrigued. Seriously. And I love that you focus a lot on family and friends in this book, because I don't often see this. You need to get this book published.

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    1. Same here! I could edit for hours and hours on end, but sometimes when I'm writing first drafts I can get discouraged or distracted. Editing keeps me in the zone, though!

      Hopefully I'll be finished completely in the next couple of months and can send on to agents :)

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  8. OMG ALLIE! You should definitely be proud because this story sounds absolutely epic! Gah...I wish I could read it! ;) Thanks for sharing and, as always, fantastic post!

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    1. Ohhhh, thank you, Zoe! I am SO excited and really hope I'm able to get this out into the world

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  9. Um, I want to read your book! This sounds AMAZING! Congratulations on not just finishing NaNo, but finishing it with a finished product that you love! Seriously, that is so fantastic. I am sad that I didn't finish NaNo. I didn't come remotely close. In fact, I came to the conclusion that there was no actual way for me to finish it with the limited time I had. It's a hard thing to realize, and to have to kind of put your goals on the back burner, but I suppose it's for the best.

    Anyway, big, big congrats, I cannot wait until I can buy your book :)

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    1. Gah YOU are amazing, my love!!!

      I think I did so 'well' at NaNo because I already had a starting point with my novel – I'd already written 50,000 words and so was halfway through and NaNo helped spur me to finish. I probably wouldn't have done nearly as well if I was starting totally from scratch!

      What was your novel about?

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  10. HOLY "ENSEMBLE BOOK" YESSSSSSSSSSS SOMETHING I NEED IN MY LIFE.
    AND FANTASY TWIST?? Yup, I want x100. CONGRATS ON FINISHING IT. Now to tackle that editing *sends chocolate and cake your way*

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    1. Chocolate and cake?! DID I MENTION HOW IN LOVE WITH YOU I AM?? Because, yep, SO IN LOVE

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  11. Congrats, and your books sounds AWESOME! I really hate editing. Seriously. I guess because, for most novels, if you change one little thing, it goes through the whole book and I'm afraid of missing something or messing it up so much I feel like I have to start all over. Ugh. I do kind of edit as I got though...soo...haha

    LOVE awesome characters so that's great you love yours so much.

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    1. I'm a big 'edit as I go' girl too! I get told off for that though, because people say it's just my way of procrastinating and putting off finishing the first draft. Which, okay, is kind of true :P

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  12. Loving the sound of your story, Allie! And it's totally awesome how you're proud of it and confident that your work's fabulous (and I'm sure it is). I'm very curious about Daigo and Celia. ;) Yay for quests, humor and craziness! :D

    And damn girl, that Pyramid of Feels is just epic.

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    1. Ohh, Aimee, I think you will love how completely awful they are to each other. It's hilarious (well, I think so!).

      I think I may use the pyramid in reviews now. I need to make a negative one for books like Ignite Me or something though haha

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  13. Ooh it seems that NaNo went smoothly for you! And I am loving that excerpt you shared. This is most definitely something to be uber proud of. Hah, the pyramid of feels, I like it xD

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    1. Ohhh thanks! I quite like it as an intro because it goes straight in with 'hey, this is a book about ghosts. BOOM'

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  14. WELL DONE WELL DONE WELL DONE!!! And I'm so happy that you're proud of it c:

    Amy;
    Little Moon Elephant

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  15. Awe Allie, i'm so proud of you for completing your second Nano and being at peace with what you wrote. I still haven't even gotten the guts to complete one NaNo.
    You need to get this wonderful piece of fiction published so I can go out and be all like "You know that Allie girl? I've got her on my WhatsApp. WE TALK ALL THE TIME. I KNEW HER BEFORE SHE WAS FAMOUS"

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    1. And then I'll be all, 'Lily, review my book because you love me' AND I'LL BRIBE YOU WITH CHOCOLATES TO READ IT hehe

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  16. You had me at that stunning opening prose Allie, simply gorgeous!

    I can't wait to see this on our bookshelves, because no doubt it will be. I think authors tend to be the most critical of their own work, and the fact that you love it so dearly, that's a winner right there. Seeing your excitement makes me want to give it a go myself. I'd be absolute pants at it, but I might just give it a go one day.

    Thanks for sharing Allie <3

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    1. Oh, wow <3 THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT!!!

      Honestly, my dream is to have you guys discussing (hopefully in a good way!) my book one day. It'd be so surreal and awesome, I'd probably cry

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  17. YAYYY Allie I just LOVE the sound of your novel, did you say Supernatural x Veronica Mars x Charmed? HELLO some of those are my favourite series! It sounds like you've made a big achievement with completing your novel and glad to see you're pretty proud of it too! <3

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    1. I knew I'd have you at the Supernatural part ;) mwhahaha. All part of my evil plan to get Jeann to read my book.

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  18. Girl you are amazing! I don't think I could ever do NaNo because I can't write that much in a short amount of time. Plus, I'm not much of a writer. But I love seeing other people do it and then come out of it so well!

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    1. It was my first time doing it and I was shocked at how much I got done. I'm not a fast writer at all, but when you've got that NaNo challenge looming, you just end up surprising yourself!

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  19. I had no idea you liked to write, Allie!!!! :D I am so happy that you finished NaNoWriMo and with such a high word count at that!!! *high fives* You fabulous you!

    I did NaNoWriMo in 2013 and got through it but I didn't feel nearly as confident about my story as you did (which is to say I ended up feeling meh about my story) but I ended up winning and that made me really happpy.

    ALSO I did try in 2014 but then I was like, i don't know what the fuck I am doing with my story and I gave up. BUTTTT since I am taking a Fiction Writing class this term, I think I am going to use my original premise for my novel and attempt writing it as a short story. I don't know how that'll work though. It'll take some careful planning!

    ANYWAY. I am very curious indeed about your story. ESPECIALLY IF it's anything like (Don't You) Forget About Me. :DDDDDDD

    Have fun with the edits, hon <333

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. Yep :D IT'S A SECRET I AM LETTING THE BLOGGING WORLD IN ON. It's what I've always wanted to do, ever since I was a toddler.

      *high fives* I think we also need a secret handshake. Hmmm . . . I'll work on one!

      Oh my God, sweetie, TAKE THAT CLASS. I did Creative Writing at uni and it was the best thing. Honestly, I encourage anyone to take any sort of writing classes because you learn so much it's just insane! I never knew it could be so helpful.

      <3

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  20. I tried to do NaNo for the first few days... and I ended up writing something so boring that I can't even remember what I wrote now. Plus, I didn't get anywhere near the word count I would've needed to make it to 50,000... so I gave up before I could get too stressed out.

    Good for you for making it all the way through! That's impressive.

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    1. Yeah, I get that. NaNo is pretty stressful. I think the thing that worked for me is that I had already been working on the book long before NaNo started. So I had a good basis!

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  21. I had no idea you did NaNo, that's so cool! And of course, congratulations on finishing! I've participated three times and never made the word goal, ha. Anyways, this sounds so awesome! I love that you are proud and excited because it's contagious! I'm the exact opposite with editing though, definitely not one of my favorite parts ;)

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    1. Three times? Dude, you're a PRO! I think I'm the lone editing sheep over here - everyone seems to love first drafts, but I'm like 'THE STRESSSSSSS'

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  22. I think you're the first person I came across who said they like editing better than writing the first draft. :D

    I love the pyramid of feels, good luck with the editing and everything!

    I'm planning to participate in NaNoWriMo in November and I already quiver with fear. :D

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    1. That's me, always have to be the special snowflake LOL.

      ohhhh, good luck! I'm considering doing it again this year, but even if I don't I'm glad I've at least done it once :D

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