Last October, I started working on a novel for NaNoWriMo called Snow White & the Seven Knights. I outlined the plot, named the characters, and started writing the chapters in November. While, I didn’t manage to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I did manage to get 46,500 eight months later. I posted chapters to a website called Wattpad, and have almost 4,000 views on my story to date. I even have regular readers! This is the most I’ve ever written, the most I’ve ever shared, and I’m proud.
But when the chapters updates ceased in August, I got the same question over and over: when’s the next chapter coming out?
It’s so flattering. Overwhelmingly flattering. The warm feedback on this story keeps me going despite my inner critic. However, in order for this story to be the best it can be, it’s gonna take some work.
Which, in author speak, means rewriting.
The Truth About Writing a Novel
Here’s the truth about writing a novel: it’s freaking hard work. Like, super hard. The hardest. It’s not just your average “staring-at-a-blank-page” or “staring-at-a-blinking-cursor” kind of hard. It’s filling plot holes, incorporating meaningful symbols, sensible motivations, and believable characters kind of hard.
I’ve already gone back and changed several chapters, not to mention backstories. I’ve rewritten entire scenes, sometimes more than once, only to have to fix it again. Creating a believable world that still engages the reader requires a lot of planning.
And no matter how much I plan, I always find out that I could have planned more.
If it wasn’t Branwenn’s backstory, it was Kacela’s. If it wasn’t expanding the chapter it was expanding Theron’s point of view. And if it wasn’t sexist undertones it was plot giveaways. Writing something is like handling evolution yourself – the evolution of words, of story, and of yourself.
And. it’s. really. really. hard.
Rewriting is Terrifying
When I started this undertaking, I thought a first draft was a mere 30 days away. Okay maybe three months. I never would have expected how difficult it could be. Nor did I realize how much further I would have to go once I had the first draft.
Rewriting daunts me. In fact it about makes me want to choke and throw all the papers up in the air. Just thinking of the hours spent writing, to only have to take words upon words upon words out to only spend more hours putting new ones back in. I think Veronica Roth added 25,000 words to her first draft of Divergent after she got an agent. 25,000! For me that’d be 12 hours of writing, easily.
To be quite honest, I almost gave up on the author thing entirely just thinking about how many drafts this could turn into, how many years it could take for something publishable. But let’s not even get started on publishing. After all that rewriting, after all the painstaking fixing, you might end up with a finished work that isn’t even marketable at all. Oy vey.
Readers Keep Me Going
Luckily, I’m meant to be an author. Maybe my books will never get farther than self-publishing, but I feel it in my bones. This is what I want to do. But the real thing that keeps me going is you. The reader.
Not the proverbial reader either. But my Mom. Sheri. Kelsey. Erin. Emily. April. Laura. Shannon.
Hearing my family and friends talk about my characters, my story, the world I wrote fills me with unutterable joy. It inspires me to kick past the fear and rewrite, re-plot, re-characterize. I wouldn’t have gotten this far otherwise.
I spent some time discussing the entire plot of this story with my trusted friend and author, Laura Wibberding. Turns out there are a lot of cool changes that need to happen, especially in the beginning, to help the rest of the story make sense. I’m creating a hefty, new outline, which means more backstory, new chapters, rewriting chapters, and getting rid of chapters all together. And, as it turns out, a certain character may not have to die after all…
This means that I have a lot of writing and rewriting to do. I knew it was a risk to put chapters out on Wattpad, because sometimes when you write, things need to change mid-writing. J.K. Rowling rewrote the entire first draft of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because she realized she gave her whole plot away in the first book. I guess I’m in good company.
My goal is to restart the Wattpad posts in October. That should give me enough time to finish a more detailed outline, and write some new opening chapters.
I hope you’ll keep sticking with me. Because, without you, Eirwen would still just be a dream I had one day in a parking lot.
The new draft went live on September 29, 2017! Click the image below to read it now!