Two things to mention:
First and foremost, Nin is done.
Well, okay, she’s done in first-draft form, but that’s the biggest, hardest part, right? Now comes printing that bad cat up and editing away. After that, well… after that we start querying.
It clocks in at about 107,000 words right now, but some of that will obviously get cut. 107K is long for a YA novel, but according to Stephen King, cutting 10% of a draft is a good goal to aim for, and I think 90K is a bit easier to shop around. (Though, yes, there are some brick-like YA books on the market right now. It always boils down to the same thing: if you have a good book, length doesn’t matter as much.)
Thing the second, NaNo day one is over. There’s a shiny new progress-tracker over on the sidebar for the project. I went with the oldest of the stories, starting from scratch. Funny thing is, it’s the getting started on this story that’s always, always been the hardest. Right now, I’m pretty sure that out of the 1709 words I wrote yesterday, maybe 250 will survive once the editing begins. I’m looking at the rest and it feels like so much infodump and awkwardness. It feels contrived.
It has every. single. time I’ve restarted this project.
I have a very strong feeling that I’m not starting this in the right place, but a the same time, I want to get this shit out of my system. So I’ll infodump in draft form, and cringe at every line of awkward dialogue. I’m going to plow through these opening scenes because I have a feeling that my actual first scene is looming somewhere nearby. I just have to find it.
NaNoers (and, hell, any writers reading this) — you could do a lot worse than to poke through the “Learn Writing With Uncle Jim” thread over at the Absolute Write Forums. Uncle Jim is sf/f author James D. MacDonald (whose guest-blogs you might also have seen over at Making Light.) Two very important things he talks about right off in that thread: Butt-In-Chair time. It’s the same principle that NaNo itself is based on: Get yourself used to writing every day. Dedicate two hours a day to writing (and only writing), and you will, eventually, finish a book.
That’s post #4 in that thread, the first thing after a brief intro and someone else’s reply. See how important it is?
And, as I agonize over the drivel I’m churning out right now, I’m keeping post #35 in mind:
So, where does your story begin?
One way to find your beginning is this: first, write your book. Now go through it to find its start.
If the first two chapters of your book are backstory and exposition, and the movement of the plot starts in chapter three, the opening of your book is chapter three. Delete the first two chapters.
I’m pretty sure I know where the plot movement starts, but like I said, I want to get the exposition out of my system now, to see what I do and don’t need later on.
So, all right, out of the 250 words I do like, a snippet for you:
I loved her. Let’s start there. We all loved her.
You probably did, too.
It’s a long way to 50K, but it’s a start.