Remember young "Sara's" post on NaNoWriMo? For those of you who have been curious about where the process of writing her unauthorized autobiography took her, I am pleased to announce she has successfully completed her novel. The process finished just as strongly for her as it began. I received this from her this morning:
It's hard to describe all of my feelings and impressions about this process because I'm still so close to it but a year or even several years from now I think that I'll look back and say, "You know, all of that started when I decided to write a novel."
It sounds absolutely crazy - "I'm going to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days." I've never written fiction outside of school assignments. I had no ideas about plot or characters or anything remotely novel-ish. But I wanted to go through the experience of writing a novel and find out where it would take me, so I decided to do it.
Probably the best decision I made early on was to scrap all pretense of a traditional novel and instead write something along the lines of a third person diary, like Jane Goodall scribbling field notes while observing the life of "Sara".
That decision served two purposes: 1) it took away any expectations about what my novel "should" be and 2) it allowed me to capture all of those thoughts that had been rattling around in my head for years, the thoughts that always seemed simultaneously too silly and too serious to recognize and commit to paper.
It was like taking a vacuum cleaner to my brain and I was shocked at how much that vacuum cleaner collected. The thing that surprised me the most about the writing process itself was that the faster I typed, the faster the ideas came to me. The typing fueled the thoughts, not the other way around.