Four months ago, when I thought winter couldn’t get any worse (boy, was I wrong), and there was snow all over the ground (but not the four feet of it that came later), I started writing a novel. Out of sheer boredom and frustration. I haven’t looked at it since, until today. My feelings about it for the past four months have been so-so. I’ve been thinking that it is probably the novel I should finish during an Internet writers’ challenge next month. The Kiwi Writers of New Zealand do a challenge every June, which is the depths of their winter, called the Southern Cross Novel Challenge, or SoCNoC. It seems appropriate that my winter novel should become their winter novel.
Just now, I opened the file and read the 6,000 words I’d written so far. My understanding of how to write well has improved since then; I noticed some stylistic errors I want to fix. That’s to be expected. What I did not anticipate, and what delighted me, was my reaction to my story so far. It’s funny. It’s a cute story with a fun heroine, and I’d like to write the whole thing and see her tackle the adventures ahead of her. She’ll do it with panache.
Writers often have very negative feelings about their manuscripts. If we get distracted and pulled away from adding to them on a daily basis, our negative feelings increase. After the lapse of four months, my opinion of this story was that it was lame. But it’s not. It’s entertaining.
To me, at least. That’s the second hurdle for writers. First, to write something we like. Second, to turn it into something others might like, too.
We’ll see what happens in June. I’ll be writing at least 50,000 more words to win the challenge, but my ambition is to write about 90,000 more words, so this story is long enough to be in the range that people today expect of a fantasy novel. Yes, I’m afraid so. It’s fantasy. Or maybe it’s chick lit. Or maybe it’s just a funny romance. I’ll update after June is over.