CampNaNoWrimo has taught two incredibly important things about my writing.
1. Sometimes re-writing is the only way to revise a story.
2. After much whining and hand-wringing, I have to accept that Cassiel really is a historical novel. I’m doing myself a disservice as a writer by copping out with an alternate universe setting. Victorian England, be kind to me. It’s been a while since I’ve delved into your histories.
That, my friends, is my pile of notes, outlines, summaries, and the first 5 chapters of Cassiel, draft 1 (aka. the wild beast). Now, here I am, nearing the first week of CampNaNoWriMo and I am actually feeling really good about choosing to rewrite Cassiel rather than rework the existing text. I feel like I’ve been living with these characters for the last 7 years (I hadn’t even realized it was that long until I looked at the original file save dates), so I know their voices and stories inside and out. Now, I just need to make them come to life in a fresher way. Just looking at those first 5 chapters, I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer. There is a serious Victorian influence running through my early writing, something that was definitely a result of too much Classic lit in school… and while I love the Victorians, I don’t want Cassiel to read like a Victorian knock-off. I want this book to have a style and tone all its own, and I am getting there! Not to too my own horn, but I’m surprised at how it’s coming along. It’s not perfect, but that’s not my goal right now. My goal is to write a solid first half of a novel, so that I can then find a balance between editing Anúna and finishing Cassiel. There was way too much time and distance between chapters when I wrote the first version of this book and I don’t want to fall into that trap again. That way lies the bad place! No no, I much prefer to stay closer to this draft. I do feel stronger about the last quarter of the original and some of the dialogue, so I do plan on printing the rest of it out and going through to find those nuggets of inspiration, but I think this will be a mostly new draft all around.
I’m ahead of my word count goal for the week, which is surprising given that I’ve been writing in the space between my eating breakfast and leaving for work (with kitty cat cuddle time squeezed in to keep kitty from attacking me for attention). The plan for the weekend is to put in another 3000 words. And do some yoga. I seriously need to stretch after all this desk time.