Since I completed (and won :D) NaNo 2013, some interesting things have happened that I figure deserved a post of some kind.
I let myself have December off, and made myself start editing my NaNo novel in January. I’ve edited things before, of course, whether it be for school or on my own; it’s an essential part of the writing process (unfortunately). But never have I edited something like this before. It’s not even the volume that’s the problem, though it is a bit overwhelming, especially knowing I still have more to write. No, the real problem is what exactly is on the page: most of it is incoherent, repetitive, rambling, crap. And thus I have discovered the one downfall of NaNoWriMo – you’re so concerned with reaching your word count everyday that you pay less attention to the actual words. Sure, they say “you’ll worry about it in the editing phase, just get those words on paper!” I’m sure I even said that in my last post. Well, I’m in that editing phase now, and I am in complete and utter hell.
I’m about half-way through what I like to call the “Extreme Rough Draft” phase. Then comes the “Fill in Missing Plot Holes” phase, followed by “Delete Entire Sections of Horrible Dialogue,” “Remove Flashbacks Because They’re Stupid,” and probably ending with “Jump Off a Cliff Before I Read Another Word of this Shitty Story.” So if you’re editing your novel like I am at the moment, then I wish you luck, and pray you had the sense to keep your novel all in one tense back in November (unlike myself).
On a more positive note, I’m excited to share that I’ve won (and almost won), some literary competitions over at Writerstype.com. I took first place for my flash fiction piece “True Love,” first mentioned here, for December 2013. Not only that, but I received first-runner up in the annual competition. I may not have won, but second place out of twenty-four is pretty good, nonetheless.
As far as reading goes, the most notable thing I’ve read so far this year is the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, which I have mixed feelings about. The first book is a pretty good read: the world building is excellent, as is seeing the main character, Tris, grow from being a meek, “selfless” mouse to an independent, strong, risk-taker. Plus, the love interest sounds super hot, (that’s always a plus). Sadly, that’s pretty much the end of the positives. But nevertheless, I finished it quickly and was anxious to pick up the next one.
The second book in the series, Insurgent, was hard to get through, and in my opinion, a little superfluous. Sure, some important things happened in terms of plot, but I was at the point of not caring. In my opinion, the plot was not exciting, overly dramatic, and I really just wanted to get it over with. As far as characterization goes, it was pretty stagnant. Also, I’m tired of every hero/protagonist subscribing to some noble idea that sacrificing themselves is their duty. All it does is make them sound pretentious and annoying, which is sadly what Tris ultimately became.
The third installment, Allegiant, other than having a rather stupid title, is a little controversial, the ending in particular. I’m not going to spoil anything here, but I happened to like it. I will say it was at least different from other books I’ve read, and that uniqueness is hard to come by. Whether it made the book better, I don’t know, but it at least did something original for the genre.
Would I recommend this series? Honestly, I’m on the fence. I would say if you’re a fan of young adult fiction, then you should at least read the first one to test the waters. Just don’t think it’s going to be another Hunger Games.
Actually, on that note, if you’re into YA Fiction, (something I never thought I’d enjoy reading, let alone write about, guess now I’m being pretentious), then forget all these books, Hunger Games included, and read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s much better than all of those previously mentioned, has interesting and dynamic characters, absolutely fantastic and smart dialogue, not to mention a setting and plot that is more evocative than the world of Harry Potter. The movie, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is just as good as the book, which is rare to do. In fact, I can’t think of any examples of where the movie is as good as it’s companion novel. This is it.
So for the rest of 2014, I’ll attempt to finish editing that damn novel, (hopefully before November omg), try to write something to get ahead of the guy who beat me for first place, (he won last year, too, damnit), and read a book that doesn’t make me angry. Here’s hoping.