I submitted my 50,001-word novel today.
I started writing on November 1, with a setting and a character. The setting was Montreal in 1967. The character was a twenty-two -year-old woman, who becomes a private investigator. I decided two other things about her. She would be driven by a need for Justice and she would have an overdeveloped sense of smell.
With just this to start with, I dove in and wrote the first chapter. I decided to write in the third person, but in a few places I would write in the first person. That was when she was a woman in her sixties, writing in the present time. I liked her right away. She had spunk.
I found myself doing research every day. I needed to check out fashion, music, vehicles, police uniforms, Expo 67, Metro, names, geography, even firearms, and much, much more. I learned a lot.
My most challenging part was writing the felons. I had to force myself to make them more violent and unscrupulous than I was comfortable with.
I write books for pre-teens, my Magda of Mayne Island Mystery Series http://www.treewithroots.ca/ so this novel, written for adults, was challenging for me.
I’ll let some time pass before I go back and rewrite this book, I think. Idon’t know if I’ll be interested in writing for the adult market in the future. I’ll have to wait and see.
Every day a big chunk of my writing time is taken up with research. I knew I was going to be writing about life in 1967, so I could have done some of this before hand, but I didn’t. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the research . It’s really a lot of fun, but it does mean I’m spending more time at my computer than it takes to write 1600 or 1700 words .
Today I looked up the 1967 calendar and cigarettes. Yesterday I researched guns and cars. (Can you tell it’s going to be a murder mystery?) The day before it was mostly maps, names and fashions.
I would recommend NaNoWriMo to anyone who loves writing and wants to give novel-writing a whirl. It’s only one month. And it’s only a couple or three hours a day. It isn’t really a huge commitment. (But then, this IS only Day 4.)
I love this. It’s so freeing! I just let my imagination and research take me where they will. I’ve got my heroine in a shooting range in Greenfield Park near Montreal.
Here’s a short excerpt from today’s writing.
“I guess so, Mr. McTavish. But I wish you’d empty the ashtrays once in while. The smell is overpowering.”
Again he laughed his loud belly laugh. “I’ll do it for you,” he said, after coughing. “And please call me Mac. All my friends do, and since you’ve told me off, I consider you to be a friend.”
“Okay, Mac,” she said, smiling. The man certainly had a disarming way about him.
They took the Jacques Cartier Bridge, crossing the St. Lawrence River to the South Shore. Expo 67, with the huge dome of the US Pavilion shining in the sun, reminded * of the happy times she’d had there this past summer. I’ll go back before it closes, she promised herself. They were headed for Greenfield Park, where the gun club and shooting range Mac belonged to was located.
I started it. It’s taking off in an unknown direction already. Will she go to Europe with her friend? What will she do? And hey, I even worked an owl into the first Page!
So, here’s a excerpt from the first chapter.
All that decided, I felt free. A squirrel danced at the end of an oak tree branch. I looked at it and grinned. I’m just as free as you are, I told it, and turned a cartwheel on the freshly-mown grass.
An elderly couple riding in a caleche passed me and I could see that they were discussing my behaviour. They probably thought I was high. Well, I was, but it was a natural high. I didn’t need drugs. I was free. I was twenty-two. I had a passport, a bank account and birth control pills. I could go where I wanted, do what I wanted, with whoever I wanted.
Now I wanted to follow my decisions with actions, so I headed down the way I had come, along the tree-lined path, past the big houses on Mount Royal Avenue, along McGregor to the lower campus of McGill, to the Administration Office. After filling out a form and talking with the registrar’s secretary, I wandered over to The Main and had a salad and a glass of beer, not my usual lunch. Then with a determined step I returned to Place Ville Marie and rode the elevator up to the fiftieth floor, where I confronted my legal colleagues.