I successfully completed the 3-Day Novel Contest yesterday just in the nick of time. During my recovery time a day later, when I’m scheduled to work half a day, I wanted to make some notes upon reflecting upon the experience. No, I did not write like that during the weekend. 🙂
While I had the notes, I wanted to share.
If you were going to do this contest, unless you were good at writing impromptu or wanted to do it that way, “plan, plan, plan” is the advice i would give anyone wanting to try. The first time I had tried back in nineteen late ninety-something, I did not plan well and it was a disaster. This time, I planned so well, Mr. Planning himself, quarterback Peyton Manning, would have been proud of me! Well, except for the slightly excessive ice cream break at 7:30 after the first draft had been completed about a half hour ahead of time for editing. I was about 20 minutes overdue and, well, I could have used about 20 minutes extra for editing. I got through it all in editing. I was just hurried and probably didn’t do my best editing work in the last half. Served me right for deviating from the otherwise meticulous game plan.
Be ready to improvise
Things are not likely to go perfectly according to your game plan. Be ready to improvise. I did and would have failed if I didn’t. I cut off, or rather truncated, one whole section of my game plan into something much smaller. Fortunately, I had a bright idea as to how to do it rather than just doing an abbreviated form.
Feelings about the entry
I am very happy with it, actually! I wrote a story with a lot of twists and turns, surprises, multi-layering of some things, imperfect characters, controversial issues, and elements closed off in a variety of styles. I had a lot of contemplation, some dialogue, some swearing, some humour, some erotica, some shallow and some deep character developments, among other things. Not too much was gratuitous, with almost everything serving a purpose to add to the story. Some of these things came as I wrote so not all were intended in the game plan. However, there wasn’t much unintended, or intended, that was wasted.
Hopefully, when one does something like this contest that pushes one’s limits, one learns a few things about oneself to be more aware of things, or be aware of new perspectives one had from the experience. Here are a list of mine, which I am delighted to be aware of now!
I could stick to a detailed game plan. As someone who improvised a lot in life, I was surprised at how well I stuck to my game plan. Note the improvised break that almost cost me some major consequences!
I could write without music. Writing without music playing somewhere is something I rarely did. Usually, to focus, I need something to block out. That was just how my mind worked. Here, though, I had a game plan and wrote in silence. I didn’t have a lot of contact with people over the entire weekend, either.
I could really focus in writing. I don’t usually write for extended periods of time. Usually, that was due to lack of focus. My mind hops around too much in thought. It still did while I wrote this contest, hopping on Facebook, checking emails and such probably less than once an hour. However, I got off them quickly and zeroed in on what I had to do immediately upon returning to my Word document.
I could write fiction. Fiction is not something I felt I wrote well. It feels like compulsive lying telling a story that wasn’t true! The more detail, the better, or worse, the lying! I feel like a very compulsive liar now after 32,300 words of a fictional novel on the weekend! Ah, but that’s why what I wrote was just a highly fictionalized account of a true life experience. The core part and themes were true, like structural frame of a building. Everything else, and even what the frame was made of, was fictionalized. Now, how good was the fiction? We’ll see later when feedback and results come out. The fact I feel differently about my abilities to write fiction was what counted here.
I could write very proficiently and efficiently. Editing was relatively minor, with the major part being due to not the greatest part of my game plan for verb tense usage at the beginning. Otherwise, it’d have been even less. For the last half of a 104 letter sized page double spaced 12 pt text manuscript, I averaged a minute a page and felt I did a better than OK job. I would only have wanted like a minute 20 seconds each, ideally. That, for the level I generally felt I wrote at prior to this contest, was very proficient
I could be a writer. The work ethic required to be a writer is something I don’t perceive I have with the isolation, focus and dedication required to do good writing, or at least for most people. After what I did this weekend, I feel I could. This was something I could sustain for longer periods of time, and given the proficiency with which I wrote, I feel I could definitely be a writer.