The most unbelievable thing just happened. I did it. All 50,447 words of it. In 16 days.
I was on track to do it in 15 days but I had to choose between spending time on the novel or spending time with my workmates and I figured, the noveling can wait.
It is a first draft. A collection of stories based on the idea I outlined just a fortnight ago. While I don’t think every thing I wrote will make it in the final manuscript, I needed those words to get to the final manuscript.
I really struggled. On one hand I was thinking I should write about a simple idea. One that has one lead character, a clear three-act structure that I can work on, and just populate the beginning, middle and end with enough tension, conflict and prose to keep the readers hooked.
But I knew that that wasn’t really what I wanted. I didn’t go on this journey for commercial success. I didn’t start nanowrimo because I wanted to sell books. I wanted to write something that mean something. It’s been on my bucket list for a very long time. In fact, I’ve been a nanowrimo member for six years. Technically, it’s taken me six years to write 50,000 words.
But instead of writing a simple story, I’ve decided to go with what my heart wanted to write about. The story of my dad’s family woven into this fictitious world I created. It deals with love, tragedy, sacrifice and – my goodness – climate change and conservation. Our lives are interconnected with each other and with nature. And when we do things that destroys others, when we destroy the environment, we also destroy ourselves.
It was during my research on the impact of urbanisation that I came across a couple of TED talks that inspired me. One was with Nixiwaka Yawanawa, pronounced Nishi. He goes around the world talking about protecting the Amazon forests because the land nurtures the indigenous tribes that live in them.
I don’t know if he would get the same publicity if he wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous. I mean, look at him! On a serious note though, what he’s been advocating for is incredibly important. I feel a strong kinship with indigenous tribes. Even with the Yawanawa tribe, even though I will never meet any of them, I feel that God throws arrows all around the world and at the end of that arrow is a string and at the end of that string is a human being whose life is connected to that on the other side of the arrow.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve done so much research on the Ifugao tribes of the Philippines. More on that in the novel.
Marcus asked me a few days ago, “Is your novel going to be a history lesson?”, as I keep sharing with him the backstory on my characters. I’m mindful that it doesn’t end up that way.
Then I think to myself, is it going to be a preachy save-our-planet novel? Again, I hope, hope, hope that it doesn’t feel that way, either!
But I do want this novel to mean something. I want people to cry and laugh when they read it. I want people to enjoy reading it but I also want them to close the book feeling better than before they picked it up.
The 50,000 word count is just the beginning. Now the real work starts. I haven’t gotten to the ending yet so there’ll be more writing to do in the next few days. I’ve got a couple of endings and I’m just letting my subconscious process them. Excited to know what it throws back at me.
But my next real goal is to test the core emotion of my story. To see whether it would resonate. To see whether it would be funny and entertaining to read. To see whether it would mean something to that person on the other side of the arrow.
The other YouTube video that I watched and I thought was timely for my noveling is one on the energy and vibrations we create and how that affects the world around us. It’s made me more aware of how I make myself feel and how I make people around me feel.
And yes, it is serendipitious that I find this video on serendipity in the exact moment that I needed it.
Happy noveling, Nanowrimos! You can do this!