know the novel part three: it is written // a writers linkup

Hello, my friends! Today I’m participating in Christine’s third NaNo linkup, where I’ll talk about the retelling of Fiddler on the Roof that I wrote in November. (Find parts one and two here.)

If you’d like to participate in this, check out her post for the rules. (All writers, including those who didn’t do NaNoWriMo, are welcome!)

1 // Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

It went well! I thoroughly enjoyed myself (although I did stay up too late writing several nights…) and made the full 50k without feeling completely drained. Maybe next year I’ll try for 60 or 70k… maybe. Anyway, the writing was great.

2 // Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

It turned out how I expected, mostly. Of course, the characters pretty much did what they liked and wrecked my ideas, but I was expecting that because my only outline was the musical script. And I liked the final outcome!

3 // What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

Asa!!! I love my fiddler very much. I also enjoyed writing the funeral scene (which came completely out of nowhere) and Hadassah’s writing (also a surprise).

4 // How about your least favorite part?

All of the bits with Peter and Selene are cringy and awful and need soooo much work. They weren’t fun to write either.

5 // What do you feel like needs the most work?

See above! Basically all of Hadassah’s POV section is terrible. But all the first draft has to do is exist, and mine does, which is the most important thing. 

6 // How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

I like my characters! Although none of them are really how I expected them to be. Sarah mostly remained the same, but Hadassah was surprising and new until I messed her up about halfway through her section. Eve… I haven’t really discovered her yet. Asa, of course, is my favorite (:

7 // What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

Finish it! It’s 50k words long but not quite done yet (I’m guessing that I may need 25k more to finish up the story). After that, I don’t think I’ll look at it for a while, as I’m annoyed at it just now… I’ll love it again someday, but I need a break first. 

8 // If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

I would love for this novel to be published by Concordia Publishing House, my denomination’s publisher. Some of my favorite novels (The Story PeopleThe Messengers, and House of Living Stones, to name a few) were published by them. 

9 // Share some of your favorite snippets!

“Isn’t it strange how God works?” asked Toby.
“What?” she said blearily, running a hand through her hair.
“Sometimes God wants us to be joyful even when everything’s wrong,” he said softly. “Have you ever reminded [your friend] to rejoice?”
“No. I don’t think she’d listen if I did. Isn’t that weird? Like, to tell someone [who’s gone through a tragedy] to rejoice?”
“Sure. But you’ve never been afraid of being strange before, have you?”
“Oh, I have,” she said. “Deathly afraid. I just pretend I’m not.”
“Well, sometimes when you pretend things, they come true,” Toby said. “So. Pretend — make believe, just like you’re a little girl again — that you truly trust in God’s mercy and grace and goodness. Pretend that you rejoice in this dark, wild, messy stuff, daughter, and maybe you’ll find you actually can.” 
// page 37 // 

Asa sipped his coffee. “Will you ever let them tame you, Sarah Jordan?”
“No,” she whispered.
“But would marrying Cai mean letting him rule you?”
“Wouldn’t it?” she snapped suddenly. “Wouldn’t it, Asa? The Bible says that wives must honor and submit to their husbands, and I believe that, I do, but sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it makes me think that I don’t want to marry. At least — not yet, not soon.”
Asa smiled oddly. “Hmm. I don’t think you see it yet.”
“See what?” she asked, exasperated.
“Submission is bad only if it’s forced,” he said. “Choosing to let someone else rule you doesn’t mean you’re lesser — only that you trust them. Or that you’re willing to suffer the consequences of your decision. If anything, it makes you greater. Stronger. Braver. 
“More like Christ.”
// page 91 // 

She stood in the corner of the room, watching her sister dance with her sister’s husband, and it felt like some twisted version of “Satisfied.”
Sister falls in love. Sister gets married. Sister lives happily ever after.
Other sister never gets a forever.
Other sister lives on without any satisfaction.
It wasn’t really that bad; Hadassah knew she was making this bigger than it truly was. But it hurt. Oh, how it hurt. 
// page 216 // 

“Mordecai, you don’t understand women.” 
“I know,” he said wryly. Then, “Dassah, why don’t you ever call me Cai?”
“What? Oh, that. You finally noticed?”
“I’ve noticed for a while,” he said. “I just never asked before.”
“Well, you know how Dumbledore says that fear of a name increases the power of the thing itself. Or something like that. Well, when we read those books a while ago, I decided that I didn’t like nicknames anymore. I mean, it doesn’t bother me much when people use them for me. Not that much. But it’s really frustrating when people just automatically assume that they should call me Dassah because Sarah does, or whatever, without even bothering to ask me what I’d like to be called. 
“Anyway, the point is that I don’t use nicknames anymore ’cause I’d rather call things what they are. If someone tells me they’d really like me to use their nickname for some reason, it’s not like I’m going to refuse to call them that. It’s just that I prefer to use their real name. Because it reminds me who they really are. I don’t know if that makes any sense. . . and it’s kind of weird. But whatever.” She shrugged. 
“No, I like it,” he said thoughtfully. “Hadassah.”
// pages 138-139 // 

Hadassah looked down at her hands, then back at him. Openly and defiantly. “I don’t trust you anymore, Peter Channing. I don’t trust you not to go back to her. I don’t trust you to be truthful with me. And for the record, that was the opposite of a ‘very good answer.'” She spun on her heel and stalked off. 
Hoping against hope that this time, he’d do something radical. Something heroic. Something to make her fall for him once and for all.
But he didn’t.
And she walked back into the wedding alone.
// page 196 // 

10 // Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

The main thing was that I learned that I can write 50,000 words in 30 days (and one of those days was only 260 words…) and enjoy myself doing it. It was tons of fun and I’ll definitely be doing NaNoWriMo again next year. I also discovered that I can write contemporary romance/family stories! I’ve never done that before (fantasy is my genre, and my favorite still — to read and write), but I did!

That being said, I also learned that I don’t write well — as in writing good prose — under pressure. A lot of the story is awful. As my character Vera says on page 207, “It needs massive rewrites.”

But I can do them, and I will. 

This novel has taught me that I’m capable of more than I think. I will finish it. I will name it (someday). And then I’ll write another novel, and another, and I will enjoy myself doing it. 

All in all, I’m very glad I did NaNo. 

And… that’s all for today, friends! 

So tell me: did you do NaNo? What are you writing now? Have you/will you do Christine’s linkup?

Until next time!

maya j toman blog heading

10 thoughts on “know the novel part three: it is written // a writers linkup

  1. Great post, Maya! I’m so glad to hear that you had a good NaNo experience, and your novel sounds super interesting! I’d love to read it someday. 😀 I’m hoping to do NaNo at some point. Maybe next year? Or Camp NaNo? We’ll see! 🙂


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