On December 1, I heaved a sigh of relief. National Novel Writing Month was over, and I had written about 46,000 words. I still hadn’t reached the very end of my book (that ending is something I’ve been tinkering with, but it shall be complete within the next week, I vow). But given that NanoWrimo was over, I was now allowed to read an actual novel, something I hadn’t let myself do in November, in case the writer’s tone carried over into my work.
The book I chose was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, one of many sitting in piles on my bedroom floor, waiting to be read. I am one of those bookworms who enjoys browsing bookstores and acquiring more and more interesting books to read, even though I have piles aplenty at home. From what I had gathered from reading reviews, The Night Circus sounded like it had an interesting spin on the premise of a magicians’ contest.
And indeed this is the case. Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is an engaging account of a circus which is actually a showcase for two magicians’ talents. Morgenstern’s prose is so lyrical that you can see every tent containing wonders in this circus, like an ice garden or a wishing tree covered in lit candles.
But as I read this book, I also kept in mind that it had begun as a NanoWrimo project. Given the chaotic mess that I myself created in the month of November, I couldn’t help marveling at how beautifully written, how polished and precise The Night Circus is. But there are hints in Morgenstern’s Acknowledgements of her NanoWrimo experience. First she thanks her agent, “who saw potential in something that was once truly a god-awful mess…” Morgenstern also writes, “I am grateful to all who gave their time and insight to revision after revision…”
Whew. Thank you, Erin Morgenstern. I know I have revision after revision to go through before my mess becomes the polished novel I know it can be – but with your beautiful book, you’ve given me some hope that it can be done.
If anyone has any lingering thoughts on NanoWrimo, or the creative process, I’d love to hear them!