On November 22nd 2021, at 3.32 p.m., I finished the first draft of my novel.
It still feels surreal to finally finish it; I wanted to scream from the rooftops, but I had to settle for yelling into a pillow, running around the house while my sister stared at me oddly. This is the book I’ve been working on since early April this year, and I got to about 134k in November. (I have created a monster.)
But, regardless of its many, many flaws and imperfections, I love it with all my heart, and I’m SO pumped to have finished it!
As the year comes to a close, I’m planning to put it aside for a week or two and focus on other projects before I get back to editing and writing a little more. I wrote a whole chunk of the book this NaNoWriMo – let’s get into all the details!
NaNoWriMo, or National November Writing Month, is an initiative started up by a group of writers to get people to write 50,000 words in November every year. It’s my first time doing it, and I was so excited to write – I was very nearly certain I wouldn’t finish it… but I did.
Of course, I was up till midnight sometimes and I was exhausted with the entire process of writing by the end of the month, but it is wild to think how much progress I’ve made: from where I’ve started, to where I am now. And I think that’s the point of NaNo; to progress and not to write a perfect story.
So, since I’ve said practically nothing about the book yet, here are a few fun facts about it:
// the original inspiration for it came from a Tangled: the series x Percy Jackson fanfiction I read months ago (it’s changed so much from that idea)
// the title is still under construction (yes, I’m using an alias – The Fallen Kingdom – and no, picking out titles aren’t easy!)
// my favourite character only appears in one chapter – I think I relate to her problems the most
// a huge part of the inspiration also came from the Pinterest board for my project –
// right now, I’m classifying it as a fantasy romance and one of the main reasons I love it so much is because of all the cultural representation (as you can see on the board)
// my favourite part of the novel is that the characters don’t develop alone – they take bits and pieces of values from the other characters and grow together
// around 26% of this was written in November only and the story isn’t done yet – it’ll need a sequel, but that’s another tale
– Have you come across any problem areas?
Of course, you can’t go through writing an entire novel – regardless of the genre – and not come across any problems. My main problem is not having a clear idea in mind as to what happens next. I know how the book starts, I know what happens in the middle, I know what happens in the end… but somehow, I have an occasional problem with how to string it all together.
– Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far!
Well, being a writer means you’re going to have a really, really, really awkward browsing history – from wanting to know whether a person can die when a bullet pierces their leg or exactly how long a lion can go without food. (The former to figure out if that’s a plausible way to kill someone and the latter for the same reason.) (I’m normal, I promise.)
And then it’s having writer friends with whom you can share snippets and exchange feedback every day – be it ways to torture your protagonists or adorable tension building up between two “enemies.” I think that’s one of my favourite parts of writing: having people you can share it with.
– What music do you listen to (if any) and where do you source your inspiration?
This is one playlist that has songs related to my story – plot points, characters, or sometimes even just emotions – but I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift (surprise, surprise,) Gracie Abrams and Phoebe Bridgers.
– Share a snippet from your book: one of your favourites!
“At that moment she was confused, excited and fearful for what would come—for she would never know and there was nothing she could do to change it. But all she could do was face its consequences when it came like the dewdrops faced the first ray of sunshine every morning, knowing that it wouldn’t be there to see the next.
In a matter of days everything she ever knew had changed, but, she reminded herself that if nothing changed, there would never be rainbows.”
– What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?
Honestly, it’s been getting inside the heads of the characters. For a while, they’d all shut me off – snarl at me anytime I tried to get too close, and that’s when I realised I’d been going about it wrong. I should be thinking of my characters not as figments of my imagination, but as people.
And that’s when the whole story sort of just came together. Each plot twist and each scene became important to the characters. What mattered most was not the external conflict, but the internal conflict – what journey the characters go through from within.
As of right now, I’m not sure what the next step is, but I know that there is a lot of editing pending. But I’m really excited and will get the story out to beta readers really soon!
If you did NaNo this year, how did it go? Or if not, have you ever thought about writing a novel? What excites you most about writing… or the thought of it? Tell me in the comments! Until then xx