Well, I won NaNoWriMo with a grand total of 50,121 words. As I believe I said in my first blog post, it's almost impossible at this stage to know how it went. I happen to think I wrote some truly inspired parts, and some truly awful parts as well, and everything in between. I discovered plenty of gaps in my research, so the first thing to do will be to fill those in, and then hopefully sort out the parts where I was blagging the history... but not yet! Time to take a break.
So, now for something completely different. When I was a child, I acquired a copy of Michael Foreman's Christmas Treasury, sent to me because I did something for Young Writer magazine (I do not remember what). It's a lovely book in which Foreman himself has illustrated every piece of literature he has chosen. Ever since I got it, as a fan of Christmassy literature, I have often thought about what I would put in my own Christmas treasury - and now that I have started this blog, I intend to compile a list.
Every day from December 1st-24th, I will make a short blog post with the title of a piece of Christmas-related literature, a brief explanation of why I have chosen it and - if I can find everything - a brief quote from each.
It is an imaginary treasury, and as such, I image all the pieces in one volume - with copyright sorted out where necessary - and children/families/children-at-heart reading one piece each night in December until Christmas Eve. That's not how Michael Foreman did it - he has more pieces than twenty-four, and all of them pretty short - but I am not he, and that is what my Christmas treasury would be like. If it were real. I'd love to be a talented artist too, and illustrate my treasury as Foreman did,* but again that is going to have to be entirely imaginary. A bit sad? Maybe! ;)
*Mind you, a few of my picks come with illustrations that they can't do without, so mine wouldn't do anyway!
It seems somehow fitting that I should write my first blog post (and launch the site) when I am procrastinating on NaNoWriMo. It's that time in the month when one starts to feel (or perhaps it's just me) that one is going mad and losing one's touch, and must talk oneself into opening up the netbook and soldiering on.
In the past, I haven't had the best time with NaNoWriMo. In 2008, I won it, but disliked my novel - I think because I was trying to copy the style of an author I had recently discovered and loved (it was Hilary McKay - no one can copy her). In 2009, I failed, despite all the wonderful advice and pep talks. Last year, I wrote a novel that I know I will love one day, so I must be getting better. I know it's me that's the problem, not NaNoWriMo itself. In the case 0f 2013, I didn't plan and research well enough, so the work is now rougher than it ought to be (of course any 30-day first draft is rough enough) and I am still trying to edit it almost year later.
How is this year's attempt going? After my last three tries, I wouldn't like to say, because I'm bound to change my mind about it dozens o times. I'll say this, though: I've written some parts that I'm very proud of, and some parts that I know are awful, and everything in between. I'm sure pretty much everyone else who's attempting it would say the same thing.
This time, I am attempting a young adult/historical novel, exploring events before and during the uprising of Queen Boudica, through the eyes of one of her daughters. I've always loved the story, but only recently set out to learn about it from a wider perspective than when I learned about it at school in year 4. I think, this time, the biggest problem I've created for myself is that I was too stupid to research everyday Roman life, I was so caught up in the Celtic* side of things.
Well, I must soldier on... right now, in fact, so this is where I shall leave my first blog post.
*Any pedantic history-type people wanting to tell me the problem with the terms Celt, Celts and Celtic, I know, but I use the word anyway where it doesn't really matter. :P