It’s happy dance time.
“Everybody clap your hands” (Mr. C and the Cha-Cha Slide, my kids love this stupid song).
Why is she making me clap my hands, you may be asking. Well, I’m gonna tell ya.
I finished my first draft of my manuscript WANTED:DEAD OR UNDEAD, my zombie western romance.
And the reason we must all clap our hands and perhaps even participate in the Cha-Cha slide, is because this book just about kicked my butt. I kid you not.
I started it with the NANOWRIMO last November. It was supposed to be a writing exercise and nothing more, a way for me to try my hand at third person POV and to try writing part of the book from a male perspective. I was so excited for November. Couldn’t wait. I had just finished writing my contemporary YA novel Desert Rice, finished the edits, and I was ready for a break.
I wanted to write something fun. What’s more crazy fun than writing a zombie western romance? Nothing. That’s what.
I had a couple of ideas. No real plot to follow. I was simply going to see where the crazy story took me and have a good ol’ time. And boy did I! November was AWESOME. I just wrote and wrote, met my daily goals, stayed on task, and I was having a blast with it. So liberating.
I wrote my 50K+ book, reaching the goal before November 30th and I even bought me a shirt (It says I’m a winner. It does. And it counts).
Then December hit. At first I was determined to keep my pace, stay in my groove, and finish the manuscript by the first of the year (yeah, that’s possible. It’s not a lofty goal at all. Totally doable).
Guess what? It turned out to be a pretty lofty goal after all.
December is a hard month as it is—holidays, family, snow. But now try adding a critique member (who shall remain nameless but totally knows I’m talking about her) who INSISTS the western zombie romance MUST be made into a trilogy. WHAT???? I’m at 50K and NOW I’m supposed to make this into a trilogy. Don’t people plan ahead for that? This was supposed to be a writing exercise. How did this get so out of control?
Okay, at first I balked at the idea. Too hard. Ain’t gonna do it. Nope. You can’t make me.
Besides, I was pretty sure I didn’t have enough material to even make it to 70K (normal novel length) for book number one.
But as I started writing again, going much more slowly than I first planned on, I started realizing that though I was sitting on a pretty pile of 50K words or so, there was no way I was going to wrap up the book and all the subplots in 20K. It just wasn’t going to happen. Too much going on.
I freaked out.
Writer’s block set in as I realized, I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO WRITE A SEQUEL.
A sequel! What the heck?
And then, as if writer’s block didn’t have a pretty good hold on me before, it decide to come in, sit on my head, and take up residence for months. Yes, months.
I struggled. I struggled a lot. Little, if anything, was being written. Then when I’d have a spurt of creativity and write a chapter, I’d send it off to be read by my critique member (I’m an insecure writer and I like to make sure things are working as I go, chapter by chapter). It would come back, the subject title of the email saying: “Don’t hate me, but . . . ”
That’s never a good sign.
Some of the chapters didn’t work. She was right. It needed to be fixed, only I didn’t know how. I’m not a plotter, but boy, I sure wished I was then.
I didn’t know what to do. Over and over I’d think about the story—okay, I’m here at point A. I need to get to point B, but how? Everything I could think of sounded stupid, illogical, and contrived. Bluck! I hate those things.
But finally, I got it together. Ever so painfully slow, I finished it. And now, I am the mother of a pretty hefty 84K zombie book! That's one big baby.
It’s the month of May. The first draft is done. It’s poopy. But it’s done. First drafts don’t have to be good (just read Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. She says first drafts can be crap. I think I love her). Regardless, I do have something to work with. Something that can be polished from its brown lumpy form (poop) into something less brown (I’m hoping for beige).
Editing, here I come!
*Okay, I just sent the last and final chapter to my critique partner, the same one mentioned above. Fingers crossed she won’t make me rewrite it. She scares me.