• Stephanie Koetsier

Novel November: Week One

In world news, it's been a great week (or at least, way better than it has been). In my personal writing news, not so much.


This week was the perfect example of what I'm trying NOT to do - get distracted, get too busy, make excuses. It started off well, and I've even set up a regular, weekly call with a fellow writer friend so that we can both push each other to write our novels and have a general chat about the highs and lows of writing.


I always knew the first week was going to be the toughest. I've been away from the novel for so long that I knew I was going to have to re-learn my own story a bit. Monday and Tuesday involved a lot of skim reading, jotting down ideas, and specifically marking out things to work on.


Tuesday was the best day re writing. I had a new idea which I loooove, but that now means that I have to go back and alter an earlier part of the story for contingency. That'll be a topic I touch on one day - how truly difficult it is to avoid contingency errors in writing. It is so easy to miss something as simple as it being pelting with rain one minute then painfully hot sun the next. So yes, contingency errors are something I've noted that I'm particularly prone to.


There were a lot of moments of self-doubt getting back into things, but I pushed through and ignored. I'm not awful on the self-doubt thing - I genuinely believe that one day I will publish a novel, it's just a case of getting the finished product there to be able to do it - obviously. I'm not someone who lets the thoughts of self-doubt stop me from writing - I've always forced myself to keep going, because I always have a breakthrough when I do. So I guess, if we are taking a positive spin on it, I did learn a bit about myself this week and writing.


Another thing I noted when having a quick read through my novel was how bitty it is towards the end. I have so many scenes in my head, and clearly, I just HAD to get them out on the page without a second thought to the rest of the story. I've got my first maybe eleven chapters and then it just dissolves into bits of a chapter here and a scene there, so that's something I'm going to be focusing on this week, or week two of the challenge. That is, weaving together all the bitty scenes I've left for myself for months (thank you past me).


I realised this was a particular problem when I read one paragraph, separate from everything, and had absolutely no idea what it pertained to or where I was going with it. I eventually figured it out, but I realised that past me has a lot of faith in future me to just piece things together rather than giving myself wee heads up for later in case I've been away from it for a while (like I have been). My first task for this week then, and what I aim to do tomorrow after work, is to flesh out that specific paragraph and link it to the scenes I've written before and after.


When I was discussing with my friend, we both noted how we have written our beginnings, and lots of bits of the end, but it's the middle bits, and how they all match up, that's proving to be tricky. I really am going to focus in on that because it's just the jumbled mess that I know is awaiting me that is putting me off finishing the novel, purely because I know it's going to be a LOTTA work and it's going to cause some, yup you guessed it, very small but specific contingency errors I'll have to work not to miss. But I'm also kind of, weirdly, looking forward to it, because it's like unravelling some giant, messed up jigsaw puzzle that I created. So that'll be my week in this weird, never-ending year.


Week one ending, I'm now sitting on 65, 468 words and 182 pages. Now, to save you the trouble of going back on my last post to compare I'm just going to tell you straight right here right now, it's not a lot but it's something. Not going to beat myself up over it since I know I've actually, bizarrely, been pretty busy this week even though we are literally in a semi-lockdown situation. But regardless, these blog posts are to hold me accountable and I know I'll want to have more to say to you all next week so promise I'll be working hard this week. Plus, I've properly dived right back into the story and basically retaught it to myself, and that was unfortunately something that was always going to be time-consuming and result in not a lot of actual words being written. Pleased to say I still love my story as much as I ever did, and I'm reeeeally excited to get back into it again - it's just connecting all the wee scenes and knitting them together into a first draft!


So, not much to report back this week - but hey, I did put up all my Christmas trees and wrap a loooooot of presents to put under them, so I'm feeling pretty good and organised in THAT department (it's been a year, okay?!) Regardless, I'm reacquainted with my story now, got a wee writing buddy set up going now to keep me even more accountable, and I am absolutely DETERMINED to flesh out that one paragraph and connect it to the other wee bitty scenes floating around in my manuscript. Promise you, when you're back here next week, I'll be telling you that I've done sooo much more.


Anyway, thanks for reading my rambles as always. Hope you all had a great weekend and this week brings you some good news - we could all do with it. But hey, things seem to be looking up, just got to keep the faith!



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