Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Today I decided that after approximately 39 days I'd revisit the 50,038 word monstrosity that was my NaNoWriMo manuscript. It had been hanging over my head for weeks and I know that if there is any hope of moving forward with it I've got to become reacquainted with the project. I guess it's a bit like dating- you can't see everyone every day for a month and then expect them to stick around while you take months off. So today is important: it's either a booty call or a promise ring (seriously, who does that other than religious kids trying to justify premarital sex?).
[ring source]
My first thought, the one that has been bothering my since I ditched the bitch back on November 30, was the issue of length (size is always such an issue). Right now I'm hovering somewhere around 140 pages in terms of actual print/novel layout, and I feel like the natural end of the story is coming in the next twenty or thirty pages. I know that a lot of what I have written already will need to be expanded on, but I'm not sure how much space that will buy me. I wouldn't feel comfortable pursuing something that's less than 240 or 250 pages (that's just me). Realistically, I need to not worry about this, but I don't want the book to fall into novella territory (not that there are anything wrong with novellas).

Another problem I'm having is with the main character's ex-boyfriend (I promise, this is not a love story in any way) and his dog. He let's her have it when they break up, despite the fact that she's a terrible partner to him and, although unbeknownst to him, frequently engages in very casual sex with the janitor at her work. He needs to take Frieda (the dog) back. Or she needs to tell him that she died. Both are just too painful for me to write, but I know it's the right thing to do for the story. This, of course, really isn't a big issue, but I know as a reader the way I have it right now would bother me. I would write mean, snarky comments in my Amazon review that would tell the author that she needed to "grow a pair." 

I also know that I should read what I have so far, as a refresher. I didn't reread at all during November, since time was an issue. Part of me is tempted to continue down this "write all willy-nilly" path and plow through until I reach the end. Honestly, I don't want to. I know that it's a bit of a mess and I will naturally start editing, which I don't want to do until the end. 

I need to finish choosing character names. My main character and her siblings were easy; they were each named after a geographical location, since their father founded a travel empire of sorts. It's the other, lesser characters that trip me up. There's one character, whose purposefully generic, so I just put in a new generic name like "John," "Joe," or "Jim" every time I get to him because I can't remember which boring name I used last (my apologies if one of those are your name; but you got to admit, you're no Umeko or Quinby).

Characters are another issue- I feel like the story as a whole could benefit from a few more solid characters. This of course means additional work. I'd have to write them into what already exists and would have to develop their personalities, back stories, and importance. Again, this seems like a lot of work. 

At the end of the day the main question is whether or not this story has enough potential for me to spend time and energy continuing. I'm not at the point where I'm ready to share, so this is a decision I have to make on my own. Considering what I've already put into it I think I owe it to myself to continue. Like I said previously, I'd like to bust out a draft by the end of the school year (so the first week in June) and then spend the summer editing, getting feedback, and making next-step decisions. 

I'd like to say I'm going to actually go work on the Untitled Monkey on My Back, but I'm actually going to go stare out the window waiting for UPS to deliver the ARC of The Antagonist by Lynn Coady. But tomorrow it's totally going to happen. 



  1. The macros you used are totally me right now with the editing process I'm faced with atm xP I also started slowly editing/flipping through/thinking about my NaNo draft (my 2011 draft; figured I need more time away from my 2012 draft) and realised that there is a lot of work ahead of me.

    Anyways, best of luck tackling your NaNo draft! It sounds like you have a good idea on what you need to work on for your draft as well as a time frame for it =D

  2. I kind of love getting this glimpse inside your mind and hearing about the roadblocks you are working on with your novel. Since my novel fizzled a sad death, I'm living vicariously through you, unpleasant parts and all. Good luck with the Untitled Monkey on your Back.*