Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What I learned in the contest.

I forgot that yesterday was the one-year anniversary of this blog. Whee!

I mailed my 3-day novel contest entry today. So that's done and I just have to wait until January to hear the results. It's funny, but all that buildup of preparing for the contest all through August, and worrying about whether I could actually finish the book in three days, etc.--and the contest turned out to be a dawdle. I finished the writing in two days without losing sleep or skipping anything important (like work on Saturday). On the third day I edited.

So what did I learn? I learned that I am actually a pretty fast writer--which I knew, but it's nice to have it proven. I'm also a very careful writer, which surprised me. I built my outline like a brick wall and wrote the story with surprisingly few deviations from the outline (and the changes I did make were mostly to improve the pacing and fix a motivation problem). Take a single character out and the whole story collapses. And I only needed to make one light editing pass, and after that I just went in and shoved in more description, which is my worst weakness. I also learned--from the super careful outlining and then the super quick writing--that when you come right down to it, writing is 99% thinking and 1% word choice.

I wrote a 1,100-word story at work this morning with a working title of "Cold Girl." It's really maudlin and overwritten. This afternoon and evening at work, because today was my long day and we were really DEAD, I wrote a scene from White Rose in an attempt to keep from dying of boredom. It worked, but boy is that scene terrible.


Catherine J Gardner said...

Good luck with your entry. As for outlines: my brick walls always crumble.

K.C. Shaw said...

Thanks! I'm not going to hold my breath for the results, but I will be interested to see how my story stacks up with the others.