This is your cabin girl. It's my turn to post this week. It's actually a really good week for me to post. I just finished a first draft of my third novel-length manuscript. I've written all three in the past year and a half... of course I haven't edited any of them.
I don't know how long this one is because I wrote it in composition notebooks first, but I'm typing it up and it's over 100,000 words already. Longer than either of my other novel length stories.
Writing this story has really taught me a lot about myself as a writer. This is probably my best manuscript yet. It was also the hardest to write. It's the one I'm most self-conscious about, and part of me honestly didn't think I'd ever finish it.
I've been writing for four years now. And I'm still learning a lot. Here's some interesting things I learned about myself as a writer from this project.
Writing a novel in composition books definitely works for me. I was able to bring my writing everywhere and do it in my spare time during school.
I have a tendency to randomly kill off minor characters.
I should not leave my characters in impending peril they know about, then leave my notebook at home, then let them talk to me in my head.
I really have to be careful about letting other characters steal the show. Someone who wasn't my 'main character' ended up saving the day.
Sometimes, when I get stuck, I need my friends to suggest a random asteroid or a stampede of llamas.
I can definitely write creepy villains. I have one villain in this story who scares me, and I'm the one writing him.
Inventing another language and then having my characters speak in it is fun. But then it confuses my audience.
I never know when a story is going to work. Sometimes I think up a brilliant idea and expect to use it to write a whole novel, but then I only get a page or so. Sometimes I think up an idea, shove it in a closet, look at it again, shrug and say 'let's give this a try' and five months later, I have a 100,000 word novel. All the way through this story I expected to stop and never start again. I was shocked when I got to the end and I'd actually written the whole thing.
It is important to WRITE DOWN MY IDEAS! This story came from a combination of two dreams I had nine months apart. If I hadn't written the dreams down, I would not have remembered them, and I would not have written this story.
So yes, I'm proud of myself for finishing something this long. And it was a great learning experience. And I'm really excited to take it to a workshop this summer and see what other people who didn't already know me think about it.