I have shared with you on this site that I do not like first drafts and that I prefer to write nonficiton. Truth is, I've not written much fiction at all. I admire those who do and have noted, rising to the surface like cream in raw milk, my curiosity about making up stories, I have so many wonderful writer friends who would help me, seemed a waste not to give fiction a try. Prefer to write nonfiction? Time will tell. It isn't an either/or proposition. I could end up liking both.
Toward the end of June, I was notififed that a writing exercise (huge, I might add) usually offered in November, would be featured in July also. It's called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. Online, writers create a 50,000-word novel in one month's time. This event, in July, would be like going to summer camp, they said, one grueling 1700-words-per-day at a time. I read about it, thought I'd forgotten about it, and went on with my nonfiction writing. But, the idea stayed in my head, sort of like a phonograph needle stuck on an old 78-rpm vinyl record. Try fiction, try fiction, try fiction, I heard over and over. The thought of doing 1700 words per day, let alone 50,000 words in all seemed like taking a bath in the ocean instead of a tub. But, why not give it a try? I would know after a few days what this endeavor would be like. I enrolled.
Today is day 15. Fifteen times 1700 is 25,500, or a few words more than half-way to 50,000. I'm on target! But it's getting harder. Things were easier in the beginining. Add this problem, switch to that enviornment, create a conflict here. Now I need to be concerned about how things begin to come togeher and resolve themselves toward a satisfying ending, or so I'm thinking. Buffy, my thirteen-year-old main character, who wants to establish her own kind of independence free of adult influence, needs to reconcile with her bratty sixteen-year-old sister who is pregnant, accept her beloved grandmother's death, and find out who has been sending her random notes--taped to her bicycle, left on her pillow, and sent to her friend's cabin when she was visiting--since the beginining of the story. I have another 25,000 words to accomplish this plus ratchet up the tension even more and resolve all of the above.
What an experiment. This has tested my dislike for first drafts and any allergy I may have had toward fiction. Result? Unknown. Regarding first drafts, I'm not allowing myself to edit or revise or even read what I've written. I just start each day--1700 words at a time. I have a graphic organizer that gives me, at a single glance, any character that has been mentioned, a brief description of each, and what each has done in the story so far. Other than that, I'm at the mercy of each 24-hour period of words-puked-on-the-page creativity. What do I think of fiction by now? One thing I have discovered: I love the freedom and the control. Freedom to add anybody and make anything happen at any time. Control to dictate who they are and what they do.
It's easy to be optimistic that I might like and continue to write fiction. I haven't read what I've written, and Buffy is still free to do what she wants and needs to do. To get the real story, check with me in 15 days.