All castles crumble, but still you build them

One of my Q2 goals is to revise the novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month. During NaNoWriMo, as they call it, people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel within the 30 days of November. I participated this past fall, and wrote my 50,000 words. It was a fun experience, and you can read about some of my experience here. Here is a post from 2014 about the topic as well. You can also read a Fast Company post I did on time management techniques from people who participate in NaNoWriMo here.

After finishing in late November, I did not read the manuscript. As I was writing it, my goal was more to get the words down than to achieve any sort of coherence in the book whose working title is Juliet’s School for the Domestic Arts. This is a saga of three over-achieving friends and one man who wanders into their lives and stays intertwined there for the next two decades. All of this is played out against the backdrop of a School for the Domestic Arts established in a small town on the Jersey shore, and its rise, fall, and potential rise again. The title of this post is a line in there that is about the beach. We build sandcastles even as we know the waves will destroy them. But also, we build business empires, and lives, and relationships knowing that time will destroy aspects of them too. It is human nature to keep building.

On some level, we are optimists.

Anyway, I did not have high hopes for this thing. But I read it through yesterday and it is…not bad. It has the scope and feel of a 100,000 word novel, and it is only 50,000 words, so it is missing some things, like the build-up necessary to feel that a few plot twists or emotionally wrenching decisions were earned. Some parts felt flat. It needs work. On the other hand, I found myself racing through it to find out what happens, even though I wrote it. I felt attached to the characters. Indeed, when something awful happens to one of them, I started tearing up, which strikes me as nutty. But kind of cool.

Anyway, I was not sure how much effort I wanted to put into revising this, but now I am more excited to do so. I carved out some time this morning to edit the first pages. I am hoping to share it with everyone else in the next year or so!


9 thoughts on “All castles crumble, but still you build them

  1. It sounds like a good read! The title makes me want to pick it up (if I were scouring titles in a book store or in an article ); and your synopsis sells it. I’m intrigued!
    The title of this post made me think ‘oh, this sounds juicy, I wonder what’s going on’.

  2. That’s so cool, Laura! I have found often that I think I’ve produced a total piece of crap, but then I re-read and it’s not half bad. Just underscores a point you were making recently about his sometimes you just have to jump in and do something, rather than wait for the perfect time.

    1. @Omdg – and the good news is that even if it is crap, once you have something you can make it better. I find that a lot easier than turning nothing into something!

  3. Awesome! They do say to put it away after Nov for a bit right?

    When you’re ready, happy to be a beta reader again!

  4. Fun! It’s amazing what putting it away for a bit can do for perspective.
    I’m in the middle of my first round of rewrites for a non-NaNo novel, and boy. I’m glad I bookmarked the few sections that are really great so I can reread them when I’m feeling hopeless about the mess I’ve made.
    Thanks for this post today — it’s encouraging!

  5. I’m so excited for you! I really loved being a test reader for the Cortlandt Boys — please let me know if you need another set of eyes on it!

  6. Inspirational! I have a complete idea ready to go but despite being a student of your principles can’t find extra time in my 168 hours. November always comes during the peak of the college semester. Can’t wait to tackle the novel during my sabbatical 2017-18 though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *