This week marks the halfway post in National Novel Writing Month. How’s everyone doing? I am pleased to reports that I’m still doing well and surpassing the word count total for today. I’m absolutely delighted with my novel so far (obviously it needs editing, but that’s for another day) and I’ve learned a valuable lesson about myself: don’t dumb down.
In previous novels I’ve tried to stick to a genre and write for a particular audience. I’ve written five full novels and whilst they have contained some gritty reality, this has been mixed with a sense of high level girlishness. I’ve enjoyed writing them and have sent them off to agents as soon as they were fit.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of agent feedback, mostly asking my to write closer to my own genre and finally I have realised what was wrong with them. The plain, simple fact was that I was trying to fit in. I’d dumbed down the real me and dressed it up with a pink feather boa and a designer handbag. Not that there’s anything wrong with girly stuff, but its justnotme.com
I’ve always been a bit of a geek, a quiet introvert deep down who struggles to take part in talk about babies and clothes (despite raising three children). Because of this, I’ve often forced my square peg of a self into a round hole. In many ways, I have fought against conformity and triumphed with my rebirth as a scientist, someone who likes to examine reality and what the world means. Probably my true calling in life, had I only known it earlier. Even so, socialising has meant that I have to step back inside the illusion and take part in conversations in a world where I only awkwardly belong.
This, I realise now, has travelled through my writing. I mistakenly thought that in order to be accepted in the literary world I would have to communicate in a language I only partially spoke. Now I realise that if I write what I know, from my heart, then at least my integrity is intact.
So, for this year’s novel I have returned to my Northern, working class roots and written characters who resonate with my own life. I’ve written identity, science, physics, equality, philosophy,motherhood, sadness and all the other things I love in my own life. It’s called 23 Acacia Road and before anyone reminds me I know Eric Wimp lives at 23 Acacia Avenue and that’s next door to Charlotte the Harlot 🙂 I’m a mine of useless media information.
I estimate that it will take another six months to fully finish this novel and then I’ll try my hand at submitting it to those agents who wanted to see my next piece of work – the one where my writing comes home. It might be weird, eccentric, geeky and rough, but I’m proud to say it’s got lots in common with me!
I’m still waking up in the night plotting the next nano chapter. I’m still finding gaps in my day to nano write. I’m still reading the nano forums. I’m still full of nano enthusiasm. I’d love to tell you the plot but I’m not going to until it’s finished 🙂