It’s week 2 of Nanowrimo, fellow writers, and that usually means a dark slide into quiet despair. (Or loud despair, if the forums are any indication.) Even after all these years of winning Nanowrimo, I am not immune to the week 2 doldrums, and Playing Knotty is giving me a hell of a difficult time. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you all What’s Wrong With My Novel.
My main character is inconsistent.
Seriously, I thought I had her motivations pretty well sketched out back in October, but she can’t seem to decide if she’s a boldly adventurous sexual wildcat or just going along with things because she thinks that’s what she’s “supposed” to do. She has mixed feelings about the men in her life, and not in the kind of way that adds depth to the character; her mixed feelings just make it seem like I don’t know what the hell her motivations are.
The mood of my scenes is inconsistent.
In a bad way. I had a scene that took place at a BDSM play party where I changed my mind four times in the middle of the scene about what the tone was. (A lot of this had to do with my damned inconsistent main character.) Thus it goes from sexy-sexy to uncomfortable-uncomfortable and tries to find a middle ground… unsuccessfully. I just want that scene to crawl in a hole and die.
My descriptions are terrible.
As I attempt to avoid the “main character looks in mirror” death sentence of character description, I end up with these sort of awkward descriptions that don’t really describe anything well. How in the world do you describe that current fashion in men’s facial hair where they have the beginnings of a beard, but it’s cut so short that it just looks scruffy, but not in the hobo sort of way? Like, neatly trimmed scruff? But doesn’t “neatly trimmed scruff” sound like a terribly unromantic description of pubic hair? I’m facing these dilemmas with every kind of physical description so far.
No one is having sex yet.
This is an erotic romance book that, so far, has no sex and very little romance. It’s taken far too long to get anywhere NEAR the sexy sexy, and the pacing is way, way off.
Why I Don’t Care About Any Of This At All
I don’t care about any of this at all because it’s Nanowrimo and I have faith in the process. I’ve done this enough to remember, albeit vaguely, that I always have problems with my novels. They aren’t always these particular problems, but they’re problems, and they always seem insurmountable and horrible and creativity-killing while I’m facing them. But see, I trust the process, and I know that by the end of the month, I’ll have figured out what my main character’s motivations are. And I’ll know what the mood of my scenes was supposed to be. I’ll know what everyone looks like. People will be having sex.
This is why we edit, folks. We edit because our novels have problems, and in the middle of writing, we don’t have the perspective it takes to fix it. I can’t even always identify the problems while I’m writing! But after November, after December, probably after January, I can come back to this novel and see what’s wrong with it, and I’ll be able to fix it, no matter what havoc I’m wreaking on the world of fiction at the current time. I have great faith in Future Me. Future Me will have her shit together, and she’ll polish this rock up into some kind of gleaming diamond.
I know rocks don’t make diamonds unless they’re coal and superheated and under tons of pressure, but don’t ruin my metaphor, okay? I’ll fix it in the spring sometime. For now, I have a novel to write.
2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Week 2: What’s Wrong With My Novel”
Great post. Thanks so much for this. I am certainly hitting the nano wall with thinking my book is terrible, my characters inconsistent, huge plot holes. I love your advice at the end.
Thanks, Coreena. It’s definitely difficult to see a way out while in the middle, but as they say, the only way out is through. Let’s keep on keeping on!