The Start of Something Wonderful

A lot has happened to me these past few months and, for the most part, it felt like I was walking on air.

The thing is, I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, eager to follow in the rather accomplished footsteps of my Dad. Once I was in high school and I had a keyboard of my own, I started taking it more seriously.  It became a form of expression instead of the desire to emulate.

There were these characters living in my head and I needed a way to express them. Drawing was not capable of the things I had in mind, so I began writing. It was the natural extension. However, for all my enthusiasm, I could never finish anything. Ever.

Years passed and my ideas grew, but still nothing definite settled on the page. I began collecting dozens and dozens of ‘first pages’ for the same tired old stories and very rarely did I make it past even ten thousand words; it was a real mess. As experience proved, I simply lacked the confidence and the stamina to keep going. At some point I would look back over what I had written and sigh; it just wasn’t good enough. None of it could suit the expectations for the ideas running through my head.

Even when I began a creative writing course in college, I could not finish much more than a few short stories and poems. Regardless, something did begin to change. For the first time in my life, I sat down and made it past the first few pages of a novel. In fact, I made it past the first few chapters. I stopped with nearly a quarter of the way left to go, but not from lack of stamina. There were major structural problems; namely a side-character-slash-villain who had decided he wanted to become the main character. Le sigh… back to the drawing board then…

I had a rather stagnant period after that. There was more planning, but no real writing. I just couldn’t get it right.

Then the blessed month of November came around: NaNoWriMo. For those unaware of what that is, National Novel Writing Month is a yearly event in which people from all around the world throw themselves into the challenge of writing a fifty thousand word novel in just thirty days.

I wanted to do this. I had missed it the year before, and I was determined not to miss again. A wonderful story had cropped up, featuring the rebel character who had ruined my last novel. I couldn’t stay mad at him though. How could I? Here was something ten times better than my last attempt.

So I started writing, and for the first time in my life, I actually accomplished what I had set out to do in my writing. I may not have finished an entire novel, but I wrote fifty thousand words and that gave me the confidence to know that I could do it again.

Admittedly, I still haven’t finished that novel, but there are more important things than getting a manuscript banged out; like being satisfied with the finished project. It may not be done, but it’s not dead either.

I tried to continue with it through December, but by the time I reached January, I realized that I’d shoved too much in and ended up accomplishing nothing in the process. So I forced myself to stop and look at it again. I had two good, solid ideas in there; both too big to compete with each other in the confines of a single book.

So, I made a frightening decision; I was going to break this thing in two. I spent two days fretting over this, wondering if I was making the right decision. After all, that’s nearly eighty thousand words that will likely never see the light of day. It took me a while, but I know now that it was the right decision.

I spent the rest of January outlining my new project, complete with brand new title: The Traitor’s Son. Early last week I finally finished it, and not only is it complete, but I’m excited by the adventure awaiting me. I just look over my corkboard, filled with all the delicious plot points I’m going to discover, and I can not wait to get started. This is the start of something wonderful.

About Zoë Demaré

Zoe Demare was born in England and spent the greater part of her restless adolescence in Holland. She is currently working towards her BA in creative arts, an achievement that she prays becomes a reality sometime in 2011. Daydreaming is her favourite pastime, and when she isn't doing that, she's writing or drawing. Her greatest ambitions are to travel, get a novel published, and make a living out of comics. More than anything else though, she just wants to follow God's plan for her life. In 2009 she started writing her 'first real novel' (the actual first attempt was pretty dire), and is still trying to get it finished.

6 comments on “The Start of Something Wonderful

  1. namely a side-character-slash-villain who had decided he wanted to become the main character. Le sigh…

    Ha! That’s when you know you’ve become a writer! But don’t go to the drawing board… on the contrary, let the story become what it wants to become. Stories are like children. You can have the best laid plans for their lives and try to raise them well, but in the end they will become the adults they choose to be for themselves. Let your first draft be what it will be, then go back and try to fix the problems, give the story some “therapy” so it will be a well-adjusted adult.

    I had a character in my book that I had plans for, but she decided she didn’t want to participate. She’s hitting the cutting room floor of my most recent edit. And I had certain main plot plans for one character, but another character decided she wanted to do it instead. The result is SO much better than what I had originally planned.

    This may be God’s way of making the story into what HE wants instead of what you want.

    • I could not agree more with that last statement. It’s been almost two years since my first novel attempt, and in that time my rebel character just grew and started presenting me with all kinds of wonderful ideas. Even when I tried to write a ‘safer’ story in its place, I ended up giving in to my rebel character because, if I was being honest with myself, his story was the one that fascinated me the most.

      While it was hard work, I have not been dissapointed. Since starting on The Traitor’s Son, I just feel like God has been leading me every step of the way; not just in improving my writing, but also in sustaining me through a difficult patch in my spiritual walk. It’s been amazing…

  2. I hate the decision-making part of writing. I’ve finally decided to write a military sci-fi about some characters I’ve been imagining since I was a teen but haven’t used before.

    What I’ve ended up doing is working on a prequel novel to a novel that hasn’t been written, featuring a newly-created character which I created to replace an old one who was too much like Kirk from Star Trek.

    I feel like if you have accomplished as much as you have, word-count wise, you are really on your way to making it to the next stage in your writing.

  3. I know about rebellious characters – from the ones that turn up unexpectedly(and had to be kicked out), then the ones created as background that end up thinking they are the whole show, and then those that just don’t seem to care if my other characters fry, even when they are holding the solution in their hands – ugh, had to re-write the end of one book three times to avoid killing all my character (that wouldn’t work well if it’s supposed to be book I of five). One of mine in Hall of Masters just cannot be a second to anyone. Half of my reviewers spend plenty of time debating whether he’s one of the good guys or not. He’s just not the type to join someone’s “team”. If he decides he wants in, he just takes over.

    I also love NaNoWriMo. Won once. Had to skip last year though because my youngest was born in mid October. But boy, NaNo ’10 is a go!

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