It’s November, and for those of us with the inclination to write, that means one thing: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! Anyone who writes either has taken the plunge and is vomiting words into a mess of a first draft every night in an effort to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, or else knows others who have taken on the challenge.
I’ve decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. My September and October were rather stressful this year and so I’m trying to relax a bit before things get crazy again with conferences and holidays. Besides, I haven’t finished editing my novel from last year. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my momentum on last year’s novel, and I think it’s time to set it aside and start something else. I cheated a bit last year and instead of starting on November 1 with a blank page, I was already 15,000 words or so into a draft. Now, after some editing to fill in gaps, the manuscript stands at about 83,000 words, and I have decided that, if I’m going to set it aside and start another project, the least I can do is share what I’ve got with anyone who is interested.
Now, before I post the link, a caveat, and some requests.
Caveat: This is a draft. It is rough around the edges (and in the middle, and pretty much everywhere…), and there are all sorts of problems with it that I should fix. If you get far enough you will find characters that disappear or appear out of nowhere, gaps in the plot, missing scenes and chapters, and notes to myself that I haven’t yet addressed. You’ll also notice that the chapters may be broken up strangely – this is a side effect of the program I use for writing. I spent approximately 3 seconds compiling all the individual chapter and scene documents into the final manuscript, and didn’t bother with fixing little details. You’re seeing a work in progress. I wouldn’t even call it a second draft, since my edits didn’t even make it through the novel once. It’s maybe a 1.5th draft.
Requests: I am done working on this novel for the time being, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in what you think. I would love to hear your general, big-picture comments. Namely, what do you observe in reading this that I need to work on when I try writing something new? (I have some things in mind, but I’d be curious to see if what I think matches with what you think) What (if anything) worked well? I’d also be interested to know if you think this novel is something that I should re-visit at some point and try to polish into a more final version, or if I should just learn what lessons I can from it and move on. Other general comments are also welcome. What I don’t want to hear about are little details like typos, bad grammar, or things that are so specific that they don’t really let me know how the writing is working as a whole.
With that said, here’s where you can download a PDF of the manuscript. If you’re on the fence, here’s a brief summary of what to expect: The novel is set in an alternate world, but the major events and characters are modeled closely on the Spanish conquest of the Incas. The main characters Rimaq and Saya are twin siblings who find themselves on opposing sides of the war: Rimaq as a translator for the invading conquerors, and Saya as a leader of the resistance. There is no magic or anything, but it is not set on Earth and the cultures depicted are not meant to be exact representations of the Inca or the Spanish although there are a lot of similarities.
Read as much or as little as you like/can stand, and let me know via email what you think. (And even though the manuscript is at a public link, please don’t share the manuscript widely without my permission.)