So, I did something relatively stupid. I signed on to do NaNoWriMo again. But this time I signed on to do it my way. I need to edit and rewrite parts of my fantasy novel. I spent a year thinking of how to improve it, what has to happen to tie things together better, and how to punch up my heroine. So after all that time thinking, I still hadn’t opened the file and dug into it. Was I afraid my new vision wasn’t going to work? Or was it the thought of a 100,000 word novel after writing 40 line poems the past year the daunting thing? No guts, no glory, so I went forth.
I’m working the novel in the confines of NaNoWriMo as a jump starter. I have a great deal of rewriting to do, and tightening up of chapters. So it’s not exactly what NaNo is geared toward, but this is how I’m going to make it work for me. I have enough new novel ideas simmering in a folder. I need to finish this book the best I can before I start dabbling in other worlds. I made that mistake before, writing in two separate genres at the same time. I got one complete book and one hot mess out of it. And since fantasy won out, I guess I know where my heart is.
After a year of concentrating on poetry, I find myself better able to fine-tune my sentences. Get rid of those pesky words that bear no freight. Think up metaphors and words that sound like they belong in my world. I don’t regret my year or more away from the novel because I gained so much concentrating on poetry. Maybe I’ll be able to tackle longer poems now, other than the 4 page tale that sprang full blown from my head one day—and promptly drained me of the ability to write another longer poem for a good while.
Even my art has benefited from this resurgence of interest in my fantasy novel. In imagining the world, I get images in my mind that would work great for printmaking or drawing. Which colors go with which kingdom? What kind of animals reside there? What does the landscape look like?
My favorite thing about writing is the never-ending parade of ideas. It doesn’t always have to be free verse poetry, or fiction. I can dabble in essays and non-fiction, form poems and haiku. I’m afraid my ideas outstrip my ability to process them. I always think I’ll remember the lines that come to me in the night, or whisper in my ear on the drive to work. My recall isn’t as perfect as I’d like to think. My new mantra – Write it down! Write everything down. No paper object is safe with pen in hand. Compress it all into that sonnet you’ve been trying to write. Or throw it up in the air, pluck the gems as they fall, and create the novel you always wanted. You have options. Run with them.