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.


Cate 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.