Monday, November 26, 2012

How I spent my November

     I thought about not posting a blog this week. But I’m already a little ashamed at how much I have dedicated to this ‘novel’ I’ve been working on all month. And my blog is a writing exercise that I set upon to write regardless of what was happening in my life other than me being away from my laptop for an extended time. The fact that I am working on a novel should not stop me from working on my blog this week. The regimen must be followed.
     I love to pretend that I am a writer who writes novels. But I really do try to not be presumptuous about it. It’s audacious enough that I write a blog once a week and post it and link the post to Facebook. If all I cared about was writing, I would be working on that and not posting or sharing. Let it be known then that as humble as I like to pretend to be, I like the attention I get from writing. There, I said it.
     November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I have been anticipating this more than my Death Valley sabbatical. I tried to do it last year and my laptop died on day two. Good excuse. But I don’t think I had what it took to write 50 thousand words in a month, which is the goal of NaNoWriMo. And in the end, it took me a year to write 45,491 words. But this year I did something I don’t usually do. I set my mind on something with the determination to complete it. I would write a 50 thousand word novel in 30 days. I decided that if I was serious about it, I would have to get up early in the morning to write. I would have to write every day, even days where I had to be somewhere that same morning like work or church. I would continue to do everything I did every morning including feeding the chickens and if not feeding the family breakfast, arranging that it would be done. All the while I would have to write at least 1667 words a day every day for 30 days. I didn’t want to be doubtful of my perseverance, but I tend to be lazy sometimes.
     The day after Halloween I woke up at about 4:30 am. I started the story on page one. I had spent some time the weekend before writing a few character biographies and even an outline. That morning, the first of the month I wrote 2919 words. I was surprised and pleased with myself. I was ahead already. I did well the next day. That Saturday I wrote twice and got in 5581 words that day. By the time the first week passed, I was 5000 words ahead of the goal. The least I ever wrote in one day was 1400, and by then I didn’t care. I knew I would make 50k.
     On Thanksgiving morning, after 22 days of getting up at about 4:45 am, I hit 50,191 words. The most I had ever written before was about 53 thousand words and it had taken me a couple years. I was joyous, but not all the way joyous for one great big reason, the story isn’t done yet.
     I got the idea for my story from a short story I read years ago. I wanted to take the idea and go with it. So yes, the idea is not original. But I made it mine. All the characters and most of the conflict is what I have thought up. But as I wrote, I realized that the story was taking a very different turn. Suddenly the whole outcome of the story changed. So did the genre. I kept at it, discovering more as I wrote. Today, I wrote a scene where the antagonist was revealed to be a megalomaniacal crazy man. I was upset. I had pushed him too far. This afternoon I started to re-write. I still need to re-work it. I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was the music I was listening to. Maybe I hadn’t slept right.
     But I haven’t explained the problem. The story isn’t done yet. I have 5 days to finish it. I have several events I know must happen and I need to fit them in. To me, I have not successfully completed NaNoWriMo if I have not ended the story, regardless of word count.
     When I started this morning the word count was 56,374. I wrote 2244 words but then deleted about a third of them and started a re-write. Then this evening I sat down and composed my blog. I still feel I should share what’s going on in my life.
     By Friday, November 30th I hope to have won NaNoWriMo. That means the story is done. I won’t have a finished novel per-se. It will be a first draft. And I noticed that like a lot of my blogs of late, the work of writing doesn’t really find its voice until almost two thirds the way in. If I ever work on this novel more, I will be slicing a lot out of the first half.
     So when I’m done composing this blog, I hope to get back to work on Havoc’s Children, my novel. I just want to say how much of a blast it’s been writing it. I tried to not let my obsession affect my family, but I’ve been running on less sleep than usual, spending more time on my computer and probably being a little edgy too. In absolute truth, I don’t care that much about publication and never anticipate earning a living at writing. But if I ever did publish, I would have to have a note of thanks at the beginning: First to my family for tolerating me, and also to people who stop and ask me how my writing is going and friends who read my blog. Like I said, I can’t pretend that I don’t appreciate a little attention. Thanks for your support and encouragement everyone.

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