NaNoWriMo has finished, and there are some interesting results for me. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to try to write fifty thousand words in one month, but it means 1667 words a day, and that’s a lot if you’re busy. I don’t usually get anywhere near that word count, but the discipline is very good for me. There are some important things in my life at the moment, like the birth of our eighth grandchild and having two of the others on separate afternoons every week, that I was not prepared to give up, so I actually set myself a goal of five hundred words a day. I didn’t quite make it but very nearly, and I did get back to writing every day.
The good news is that Crisis of Conscience is finished. I reached the end of the story.
The bad news is that it’s only thirty-one thousand words.
Obviously, it’s only the first draft, but improving the descriptions and expanding the characters and their reactions is not going to add the forty thousand words it will take to make it a novel. I need a huge subplot or two and maybe some more crises. It seems to be a trait of mine that my stories are always too short.
Intruders was originally two stories, but when I realised that one led directly into the other I put them together. If you’ve read it you’ll know what I mean. (If not, why not?) Alien Secrets was almost long enough but it had a ‘muddy middle’ as they say, and I found a new crisis which sorted out the timeline and added ten thousand words. If you’ve read it, it’s the pirates. If not, maybe it will intrigue you enough to give it a try. You don’t need to read Intruders to enjoy Alien Secrets.
What I need is someone to read the first draft of Crisis of Conscience and a) tell me if it works, and b) help me find some more material without distorting it too much. I have someone in mind to ask, but if anyone out there would like a crack, do please get it touch. But you do need to be able to critique in depth.
After a first draft is written you need to create some distance, so you can view it with some objectivity when you next work on it. So I won’t be touching it for at least a month or two. And there is the little matter of Christmas coming up. No so little with four children, four spouses and eight grandchildren. Plenty of distraction for the next few weeks.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz