My NaNoWriMo novel in 2009 was an urban YA fantasy set in modern day New York City. The main character was a young Japanese-American girl who stumbled through the rabbit hole between reality and the spirit realm, and then had to collect four items to barter her way back to her home.
Ok idea? Not particularly original, but it had elements that I liked, namely the relationship that main character formed with the girl who was supposed to be her adversary. Like all my NaNo attempts, the writing was mind-blowingly awful. I’ll blame that on the time constraints and not my intellectual ones.
ANYWAY. I started working on draft 2 of it in… 2011? Obviously that wasn’t successfully completed. Then, last year, I went back to it. My MC was never spectacular – not even particularly interesting – and the setting of ~magical~ ~Japanese~ ~spirit world~ was too plagiarized from Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. But I didn’t wanted to whitewash her; YA has enough pretty blond girls already. Around the same time I started volunteering at a local archive and reading through their collections, began to seriously contemplate race, sexuality, and gender, and my class privileges. I’ve always been a feminist, but until embarrassingly recently, that feminism was race-blind. Read up on some necessary WOC and LGBTQ authors, nonfiction and fiction, and have hopefully become more aware of the racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia that shape our culture.
I have a point. Really. So anyway, I chucked draft 2 and dove into draft 3. Name change, background change, race change, family change, and setting change. Now instead of dealing with the sorrow of her grandmother’s death, the new element in the MC’s life is her infant nephew. Instead of being in Manhattan, the setting’s Brooklyn, starting in Brooklyn Heights, going down to the waterfront, then moving up through the city proper. The adversary – the only decent plotpoint in the whole novel – has been given a bigger role and moved up from mid-story to the beginning.
My goal for 2013 is to finish this draft 3. I’m aiming for about 60k words, more than NaNo’s 50k. What I plan/hope to do is to make updates about the current chapter and the problems or awesomenesses that arose. By addressing it and laying it all out (and in public – though I suspect that I’ll be the only reader of this blog), I’ll have some sort of accountability.