As I announced to you awhile ago, I happily participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time in my life! For the first weekend of November, and thus the first weekend of NaNoWriMo we had a few friends in town and decided to host a write-in event! There were snacks and laughter galore.
It was a fun experience to write with people. Most of the time during our 30 or 45 minutes sprints we would set a challenge to see who could write the highest word count to spur us towards our daily goals. This helped me to be two or there days ahead of where I needed to be after that weekend. It was a nice feeling to be so far in advance.
One of the weirdest experiences that I had while typing out my story was how the words seemed to continue to flow. I had no idea if they were well written words or not, but at least I was meeting and surpassing the daily word count goals.
In preparing to do NaNoWriMo I got index cards and wrote out scenes on them, which most scenes were individual chapters. Writing flowed the most when I had scenes at least sketched out, later when I did not add more index cards it was more difficult to picture the novel in my head. Simply, because I knew each of my characters needed to be fleshed out throughout their introductions in order to share depth during the group counseling phase of the book I let my mind wander as they were in their scenes, adding any adjectives or random back story that I could think of. Often I cheated using personal items or experiences from my own life. Likely, much of this will need to be edited out, but it helped as a writer to picture and develop the characters more. Seriously, I spent 30,000 words before they ever got to the counseling retreat location to begin their group counseling (i.e. the entire point of the novel)!
I felt very encouraged throughout the process. At the Bible Study I attend, I shared my plans, and the reasons for wanting to see if I could accomplish the goal of 50,000 words. They were very curious, and then moved to hysterics as I described that I was writing about the Disney Princesses.
Writing was the toughest when I was sick for a few days, I lost my advantage of being ahead. Then, we traveled to NY to visit my in laws and I found it more difficult to write after I got behind. I ended up just trying to make myself write whatever I could to make up for lost time. I didn’t want to give up after so much work! However, I really wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. Then, when we returned home, I found out that I was desperately needed in my counseling office, leaving me time to write only in the evenings.
I pushed myself, writing whatever I could and found that I had reached the 50,000 word goal! However, my story wasn’t finished, I really hadn’t fleshed out the counseling aspects or the climax of the story at all! Understanding that this is supposed to be the first draft, I allowed myself to skip some scenes and chapters, and wrote an ending. This brought my word count to 51,900!
I still have no idea if it is any good. If you’d like to read and edit it feel free to let me know. I’ll certainly let you preview the 150 + double spaced google doc pages. Because I don’t really know how the story is, its hard to know how I feel about “winning” and meeting the goal. I think I thought that I would feel more accomplished than I do. I may not feel as accomplished until I’m able to edit it, and maybe publish it digitally and physically via the prizes for the winners, not sure. But at the end of the day, I did it!’
Thinking about it further, maybe I didn’t necessarily win the feeling of accomplishment, because the story isn’t finished yet. However, I realized that I’ve been very patient with myself while beginning this phase of my education, the internship. Whereas I would normally have the tendency about failing or doing the wrong thing, not doing 100% what I should do the first time, I have not had that anxiety. Instead, I’ve been able to go into my sessions knowing that this is the “editing” time period and that I’m likely to speak as an unseasoned counselor and that I can continue to refine those skills over time. Maybe that is truly my winning prize, to have continued the evasion of my perfectionism tendencies in other areas of my life!
Here is a synopsis of the novel “Disenchanted”
Belle is a hipster: she likes her toms, her apple computer, and adores paranormal romance books. She worries about her Grandfather, and her future. Ariel is an anthropologist who likes to study other cultures, but struggles with anxiety of talking with people. Cinderella was a poor waitress/server recently was married to a wealthy businessman and was whisked into a rich lifestyle with her daughter. Her new husband also has two children of his own and he lives with his mother. Cinderella struggles with feeling like her shoes “simply do not fit” in this new life of blended families and worries about becoming the “wicked stepmother.” Aurora met her knight and shining armor husband while questing in an online role playing game. She was about to be fire roasted by the dragon, when he appeared and rescued her. Now she struggles with the reality of having two children and feeling emotionally disconnected from her husband. Snow White is a model, and has been in the fashion industry her entire life due to her parents’ involvement. She struggles in the limelight often having panic attacks from the anxiety, specifically having thoughts regarding her lack of beauty. Rapunzel is the youngest member of the group. When she was younger she had cancer, and because of this her parents have been over protective, really hindering her from experiencing life. Rapunzel is excited to finally be out on her own, but can’t expect what she discovers!
All of these characters find a flyer and realize that there is a problem in their lives that they want fixed. They want their happily ever after, and they want help to get it. The counselor who will be working with them is intimidated and worried about this group of women who may become “desperate housewives” and whine and complain about the men in their lives. He is a recent Christian who struggles with shame and guilt over his own past, and is learning more about God’s grace, and what he feels is God’s calling on his life to help others. Then, of course, there is the Fairy God Mother. She is the mentor/supervisor of the Christian counselor, as well as the director of the group counseling retreat weekend. The Fairy God Mother interacts with each of the guests, helping them to find enlightenment and wisdom throughout their self reflection journeys.