Thursday, August 27, 2009

NaNo and the Dead Fish

Mt. Lorette Ponds, Kananaskis

I started editing my Nano* novel other day. I read it over to find the obvious mistakes and thought I might take care of them first. Then I realized bits of Chapter Two and Chapter Three are really Chapter One.

Knowing this, I started using my mad cut -and-paste skills. This led me to do a bit of rewriting and now I'm correcting in some chapters and rewriting in others.

It's hard to say if said novel will amount to anything other than an exercise in learning how to write a book.

As I read it I cannot help but come up with a tortured metaphor concerning the above photo. Like the pond it is shallow, rocky at the base, and offers the occasional dead fish on the bottom.
The above pond has been artificially deepened and is fed from underground water if memory serves. It is also stocked for fishing and is quite popular.
I'll be deepening my manuscript as I go and stocking it with whatever it needs. Perhaps something may come of it someday and it will be popular.

I hope no one sees the dead fish.

*Nano is NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Contest held each November. It's a contest you have with yourself to write a 50,000 word first draft in 30 days. I didn't register for it last year as I didn't know I was going to do it until the last minute, but I played along at home.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Love the pond as metaphor for the work in progress!

And I would think a few dead fish would make great fertilizer, which will lead to burgeoning plant life in your little pond, which will then attract all kinds of interesting critters. Good for you for getting back to it!

Leah J. Utas said...

Why Crabby, I never thought of it that way. Thanks for your support. And thanks for liking my metaphor.

bunnygirl said...

I love the editing process. I'm weird that way. Most of what you learn comes out of editing, though, not writing the draft. The draft is just the brain dump, and then you have to take what you put out there and craft it into something special.

I smiled when you said parts of Chapters Two and Three should really be Chapter One, because that's been my own experience as well. I always assume that Chapter One is for myself, to get myself into the story, but Chapter Two is where the story will most likely begin. I'm rarely wrong.

If you feel any pain about having to scrap whole chapters or scenes, remember you can always offer them as free outtakes on your website. Nothing good should ever go to waste. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Bunnygirl, I have an inkling of what you mean. The first draft gets it out so you have something to play with. I like your views Chapter One.
Thanks for your supportive notion about scrapped stuff.

The Fifth Sparrow said...

I've always fancied myself as a book editor. I am forever picking up on holes in the plot and contradictions. I think it's because I get so immersed in the story.

Not a writer though, although I wish I could capture my great-grandmother's life in print. She had a facinating life.

Can't wait to read your work. Will you publish here?

Leah J. Utas said...

Good for you, 5th, (can I call you that??)for taking enough of an interest in the language to care.

What did your gr-grandmother do? Maybe you could blog about her occasionally.

I'll publish with any legit house who'll have me.

Hilary said...

Even a dead fish serves a purpose to sustain other life. Best of luck, Leah. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Good point, Hilary. Thanks.

Nancy said...

It's going to be a whopping success! I can't wait until it's on bookshelves.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks so much, Nancy.

Frank Baron said...

Crabby's got the right of it and darn her for getting here first! (You know I'm kidding Crabby - you're a peach. :) )

It's true though. Nothing's wasted in nature, as I'm sure you know, Leah. Ditto with experience in any endeavour. Working on this novel can only exercise your skills as a writer. And we all know that exercise is good for us.


I may have to write more.

Thanks a LOT, Leah!

Leah J. Utas said...

You're right, Frank. No matter how it settles out, it's still a good thing to do.
Sorry to make you work, Frank. But you said yourself the exercise is good for us.

the Bag Lady said...

How did I miss this post? And the great commentversation?
(Oh, wait, it's because I wasn't home all day yesterday....)

This was a great post, cousin, and, like Crabby, I loved the pond as metaphor for the WIP.

I'm sure you'll have great fun re-working your novel!

Leah J. Utas said...

dfBag Lady, the re-writing/re-working is fun. I think I do my best when I have something in front of me to play with, although the raw creation is great, too.
Glad you like the pond metaphor. I've never been good at metaphors, but I think this one works.

Barbara Martin said...

Rewriting often brings up gems from the draft or a spark for a new scene that will fit perfectly.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Barbara. I'm sure you're right.