I Finished A Story

2015-12-29 19.02.16As the title says, my story Toini Comes Home is now done. It’s only the first draft, and there won’t be a second. I’m done with it.

The idea for the story is good. I love the main character. Some of the scenes are pretty good. I think I learned a bit from writing this one.

Unfortunately, it’s not particularly good, and I don’t like it.

I’ve read it, and I have a few ideas about why I’m unhappy with it.

  • It’s too long. Most of the story is really back story and world building. There’s a lot of jumping around between different parts of the Toini’s past and I think it will get a bit disjointed.
  • The reader doesn’t really know the main character. The side of Toini that’s shown in this story is the side that’s hidden underneath and which doesn’t usually come through to the surface. She’s not her normal self, but since the reader doesn’t know her, they can’t really tell.
  • It’s too long. It takes too long to get to the point, and even then the point is poorly made.

2015-12-29 19.00.34

I’m sure there are other issues as well. I’ve asked a few friends to read and comment on it and I look forward to hearing what they have to say – even if it won’t be flattering. I hope to learn something. That would be good. It’d mean spending all this time writing the story won’t be a waste of time.

There’s a saying that goes something like “no writing is wasted writing” and I’d like to think that’s true. I’ve had some practice. I’ve been able to refine my technical skills a little and I’ve had time to ponder a few things relating to my writing.

There’s a new decision to be made though: To NaNo or not to NaNo?

I’ve always been of the opinion that the NaNoWriMo isn’t my thing. 50k words in a month is too much for me. This last story I wrote is just 30k words, and it took me 8 months to write.

So no, writing fast isn’t my thing. But, I also need to do something about the rate at which I write. A novella a year just doesn’t cut it. Trying to rush out 1,000 words a day and more on the weekend may be a good way of getting some practice.

2015-11-22 20.07.03-2Doing the maths, November has 30 days, and I work 20 of those. 1k each working day means 3k on my weekend. I’m not sure I can do it, but I’m sort of working myself up to giving it a go anyway.

I just need to pick a character and decide on a story. I don’t want to use any of my “good” characters for this.


I Finished A Story

4 thoughts on “I Finished A Story

  1. Anz says:

    Writing that last chapter of your story is a big milestone and a huge weight of your chest. Even if you’re not satisfied with the outcome you should not abandon the project just like that. It’s important to be able to point out the flaws of your own work, and you seem to be able to do that since you say your story is too long and the major character does show in the right light in it. You also say the project hasn’t been in vain and you’ve learned something from it.
    Editing a finished manuscript is also valuable for progressing as a writer. It’s very hard to start cutting your text shorter, I know it, but you’ve already admitted it being too long. Deleting those precious paragraphs that you’ve writtien can be heart-breaking at first, but when you know you’ll end up with a refined version of your novel, you’ll be able to do it.
    Naturally you can also add new content. If the readers don’t get to know your protagonist well, you can add scenes (for example flashbacks) where new sides are shown.
    Finishing a book requires planning, writing and editing. The last phase requires a (nearly) finished manuscript, so it’s the one that you get to practice the least. Doing it will also teach you how to plan your work better the next time.
    Recognizing those flaws in your own manuscript is an important skill for a writer, and needs to be honed too. Be glad that you’ve already done the hardest part, which is the first actual writing process, and now you can start refining the work.
    I personally recommend taking a couple months without touching (reading) this manucripts, then printing it out on paper and making corrections and notes with a pen first, then editing with computer.

    I randomly stumbled upon this blog just now, and haven’t read your work, so I can’t comment on it myself. But I warmly recommend taking on the editing. It can be a true challenge, but if you want to make good work, you need to be able to take it on.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.
      I believe you’re right. Editing is great way to get to learn a bit more about writing and story. For me, personally, story is the most difficult part at the moment. I’m pretty confident in the technical aspects of my writing on a word for word basis. Story however…

      I’m not skimping on the editing completely though. I’ve got a novella that I can finally get back to now that this is done (started planning the changes for the fourth draft yesterday), and I’ve got a novel that’s been sitting around even longer and that will also need a lot of changing and cutting.

      So, I very much hear what you’re saying. I just don’t have faith enough in this current story (at the moment) to want to get back to it. I probably shouldn’t say that I definitely won’t, but it feels unlikely at the moment.

      I still feel like a bit of a beginner when it comes to writing. I’ve been at it for a handful of years, but haven’t really put out anything of value yet. I’m hoping to have my novella, Emma’s Story, out by the end of Januray, and then my first novel, Enar’s Vacation, a few months after that.
      The novel has a lot of it that needs fixing though, so it may take longer – that’s a story I still believe in though, and I’ll put in all the effort I can to get that fixed. :)

      And once more. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. It’s really encouraging (yes, it made me question the decision to abandon the story completely). Thank you. :)

  2. All I can say is well done. I think there’s a lot to be said for knowing when something is finished and to leave well alone, whether or not you intend to publish it. Hammering an idea to death and not being able to let it go can be a big waste of energy and enthusiasm.

    1. Thank you. It’s been a little hectic around here. The blog hasn’t been updated for a while (as you might have seen), and I didn’t notice your comment. Thanks again. :)

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