I figure it’s time to document this experience, even if I haven’t really said much about it except for one post that I connected to musings about my personal life. But since I’ve been itching to blog, and the other things I want to blog about aren’t really bloggable just yet. I’ve been meaning to post about my lessons for this class, though, since it’s kind of a BIG! THING!, so here we go. :)
So like I mentioned in a previous post, I joined Mina V. Esguerra’s Contemporary Romance novella class (aka #romanceclass) because I figured it’s about time I do something like this. I actually wrote “THE END” on my novella about a week before the manuscript was due. It was finished, but I didn’t want to submit it just yet because I knew I had some work to do, like bridging gaps for the parts that I kind of skipped. So I spent the next weekend writing and re-writing and figuring out how to fix my scenes, and trying to see if they’re somewhat coherent before I send my manuscript + book description. I finished it sometime around five in the afternoon on the deadline, and then I started flailing at home because Hey, I actually really finished something this time. After 7 years of “novelling.” Omg. Let us celebrate!
So, what did I learn from my #romanceclass experience?
- I am not an outliner. Okay I have vague ideas with outlining, but I never really outlined any of my past NaNo projects. The outline was one of our deliverables in this class, so I made one, but I feel like I could have done better. Funny though, somewhere in the middle of writing, I had to make another outline because of the changes in my story, which ate up a bit of time. But I find that it’s actually easier to write with an outline. I guess I just never focused on them before because I was too busy doing other things before actually planning my novel.I think I have lots of room to improve with my outlines, like more details, especially in the middle. I don’t like middles, remember? But again, you can’t go to the end if you don’t go through the middle, so I need to sit through the entire thing to get to the end for the next projects!
- When I get stuck, I am stuck. I used to think I can jump from one scene to another easily…but I realized that it’s kind of hard for me to do that! I tried, but I kept on going back to the scene I needed to write first. But once I finally got the scene I wanted, everything was easier. I have no easy solutions for this except to meet that block head-on and just keep on hitting it from various angles until something crumbles. Which brings me to the next point…
- I need to talk it out. I’m pretty sure my friends also got tired of me talking about my novel to them all the freaking time. Haha! Sometimes they don’t even have to answer; I just need to say my thoughts out loud to someone and then I’d eventually figure it out. But they were very helpful, especially in thinking of kilig parts! I still consult them every now and then, and I hope they still want to read the finished product once I’m actually done. Hee. :D
- Beta reader comments are actually fun. This may be because my beta readers are some of my reader friends, and they’re especially nice to me. :P But this is the first time I received reader comments and they’re really helpful with my revisions. Next time, though, I think I’ll send the parts to them earlier, even if I’m not yet done with the other parts so I won’t have so much revision work in front of me. I still feel a teensy bit afraid on having strangers read what I wrote, but I’ll get there.
- I need to make use of inspiration whenever I get them. Like I said, when I get stuck, it’s kind of hard to get out of it. But once I get out of it, I have so much creative energy that I feel like I could write anything and I need to harness that. This is why I found myself scribbling stuff on my phone more often than usual. That’s probably my favorite part of this — the crazy energy I got after I finally got past that bump! I missed having that inspired feeling! Because of all that, I have managed to think of two spin-offs for some characters (and I’m very excited to write them!). I even thought of ways of reviving my old NaNoWriMo novels. Hurray! :)
Overall, it was a very fun experience. I missed writing fiction, and the #romanceclass was very helpful in reminding me that I can still do it. I can still write. Burn out after so many years of racing to 50k during November made me forget that, and it’s nice to remember why I liked writing in the first place. :)
The next question is: will this novella ever come out in the wild? The answer is YES. This is the scariest part, IMHO, because I’ve never actually entertained the thought of (self-)publishing this.1 But as some of my classmates (who were also friends from NaNoWriMo) say, “This is long overdue!” and I agree. So…watch out for it.
Here are the book descriptions2 for the novellas we finished for the class — I’m very excited to read all of them. :) If you want to write your own contemporary romance novella, too, Mina has made all the lessons available in this #romanceclass paperback. Yes, you can write a contemporary romance novella, too. :)
Thank you so much, Mina! The class was so much fun, and I learned a lot. :) And to my classmates — congratulations to us! Here’s to more writing projects for everyone. :)