Yesterday’s post about the completion of my second novel The Family Trap had some interesting responses. Because I’ve only really been talking about it since I started posting To Do lists at the end of August, it seemed to some that I had written this novel super-fast. In fact, when I first posted that I was working on the outline I had almost half of the novel already written, along with many scenes and new characters sketched out, and only needed to iron out a few plot twists before continuing to write. That said, the last two months have represented a major push to get The Family Trap finished, ready for the editing and beta-reading stages coming up.
But yesterday I had an interesting thought: If I had written The Family Trap in only six weeks, so what? Would that have made it no good? Would it have made me less of a writer? Would it imply I don’t take the writing and editing of a novel seriously enough?
I don’t think so. And to any new writers about to start NaNoWriMo, I’d like to say this: Don’t be discouraged by a prevailing view that nothing of quality can be produced without months and months of excruciating graft, and then five or six edits on top. Every writer is different, and writers may have different processes for different books. Many renowned authors have produced amazing novels that were perfect at first draft stage, others have worked for a decade on one book alone. There is no right or wrong way to go about it, only what works for you and your readers, and the main focus should be on quality, on clarity, on how best to present the story to the reader and give them a satisfying experience.
But that’s just my opinion, and you shouldn’t take any notice of me either. A while back I wrote a blog post about being a writer or a producer of books, where I questioned whether an author who produced 6+ books a year could be turning out quality reads. You know what? It doesn’t matter! Writers should follow their own instincts, and listen to their own inner voices. Sometimes, with blogs and Twitter and forums and Facebook, there are just too many voices telling us what to do, and most people have a vested interested in seeing others do things their way because it makes them feel better about themselves. So if you want to write your novel in a NaNo month, you go for it. And if you want to take a year over it, that’s fine too. In the words of Mark Coker ‘Honour your readers.’ (Actually, he says honor, because he’s American) 😉 As long as you’re doing that, you’ll be fine.