Post-NaNoWriMo: First Proper Novel

Some 62,000 words into draft 1.5 of my untitled novel, I proceeded to write my first proper fight scene—spoilers, it involves a giant spider.

Now, the first draft, penned as it was during the blitzkrieg that was NaNoWriMo and the busy Christmas holidays, came in at a measly 42,000 words. It was written quickly and messily without any concern for tone, style, characterisation, narrative or any of the other words a proper writer is supposed to use. The thing doesn’t even have a real ending.

As a result, my fight scenes came when I needed something, anything, to happen, so they are hastily arranged, oddly placed and a perfect opportunity for redrafting.

So my first proper fight scene redraft, I should probably have clarified a hundred words ago, is really a first draft, built from the sparks I made during that mad November I never want to repeat again.

And I’ve realised that these sorts of scenes are hard, mainly because of all the motion. Nothing stands still. See for yourself:

“I grabbed a leg with my tail in a bid to hold the spider still, but it shook me free and knocked me off my feet while it shielded its face from the cannon fire. My brother held the spider at bay for a few seconds but it managed to inch forward, the majority of its limbs free to push back against the death raining down on it.”

That excerpt is packed full of verbage because I want the scene to read how I pictured it in my head, lots of movement and quick actions, but there are only so many words in my vocabulary. He darted. No, he flew. Wait, perhaps he should dash? You’re lucky—before I cleaned that up, it had more leaping about than West Side Story. I almost had their fingers clicking.

After finishing my first proper fight scene, I moved on to my first proper mind meld (don’t ask), and then I realised that everything would be my first proper something. This is my first proper novel.

I feel like Mark Watney as the first man to grow potatoes on Mars, the first man to explode on Mars, and so on. Except, I’m not the best botanist on the planet, although I’m this novel’s only author, so technically…

Next up—first proper plot change.

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