It is the middle of November and many writers are are the middle of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, as it is better known. A challenge to write 50,000 words in the thirty days of November. There is no prize in winning the challenge, only the satisfaction of achieving something, and occasionally beating your friend’s wordcount.
I have taken part, and won, twice – in 2018 and 2019. This year I am giving it a miss. I have something else to do. Because what is the point in writing all those words and not doing anything with them? I have spent most of 2020 finishing and publishing Bright Helm. What next?
Timelinewise (is that a word?) comes my detective story – last year’s NaNoWriMo which I wrote about here which I had not looked at for nearly a year. Although that is not quite true – I took the first chapter and used it as the ending of bright Helm. That must mean I intend to use it. It was time I read it and found out.
I printed out the manuscript and read it. I was pleasantly surprised – it (mostly) made sense. However, although I had carried on after NaNoWriMo I still only had just under 70k words – not enough for a novel. Never mind, there were bits missing. At one point I came across the sentence “Insert visit to XXX here” So I wrote that chapter, or was it two? I discovered a point that mentioned a character having done something – another chapter added describing those events.
Then I added a final chapter because the ending was a bit abrupt – a problem with NaNoWriMo, as you are so glad to get to the end, you just stop.
Then there was giving people names – mostly minor characters that were called NAME because I didn’t want to break the flow. A major character was renamed as well, because what I originally called him was rather unwieldy. And of course there was all the corrections in spelling and grammar and other silly mistakes.
Now I have a novel of 75k words – I was aiming for around 80k. Is it enough? Should I add more? How? After cutting so much from Bright Helm, I am more used to reducing words than increasing them!
As for the plot, I’m happy with that, but is the “Detection” bit enough? Too simple, or is that just because I know who “did it”. I’m sure Beta readers will put me right – any volunteers?
The main problem is not really the book, but how to publish it – not the technical side – stick it on Amazon and hope for the best. But how to market it. If I call it Byrhtnoth Chronicles: Book 5, Bright Wolf readers will be disappointed. Byrhtnoth appears but only as a minor character. There is none of the running around and fighting that people are used to, although some blood is spilt.
Is it a completely new series? The Wulfstan Mysteries, perhaps. Should I keep the Bright title theme/
What about the cover? I’m thinking something different, but similar. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
It’s not all confusion though. I mentioned the extra chapters – that “Insert visit” scene. Sometimes characters get away from their author and say things that she doesn’t intend. This happened here. The idea was taken up in the (new) final chapter and suddenly I had a flash of inspiration.
I had an idea for the next Byrhtnoth book!
I won’t say anything yet, it will involve a lot of research, but at least I have an idea. In fact I have too many ideas: a prequel about Byrhtnoth’s father, a piece of Historical Romance, even something different about the Staffordshire Hoard.
And then there is the 50,000 words I wrote for my first NaNoWriMo. I haven’t looked at that yet – a new genre, still historical, but a different period.
I must get myself under control. One thing at a time.