NaNoWriMo: Days 8 and 9

If there’s a moment when the realization that everything one has been writing sounds hollow, forced, and insipid, this is it. This is optimal burn-the-paper-and-run time. The Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, that’s what this is for many people. But as I carefully considered my story line before November began, thinking about what would be a familiar yet novel idea, generating likable characters and figuring out transitions and the mechanics of the arcs, I shouldn’t back away now. No, it’s not because I’m more than 50 pages into the thing. It’s because when I had my wits about me on October 17, I knew there was a good book here, and I just need to trust myself.

Besides, if I’m wrong, it’s no big deal. There has got to be something in here that will serve me well later. Also, I’m not going to know if it sucks until much later: first I have to finish the story, then I have to let it sit like the turkey I’ll pull from the oven on Thanksgiving, and then I’ll have to revise it close to ad nauseum. Only after all that, I’ll send it to beta readers and I have no doubt they’ll inform me if truly, upon all of my work and finesse, if it still stinks to high heaven. They will have the benefit of their wits, see.

So for now I insist on pushing through. My protagonist is lost deep in a forest, and there’s something about admitting that’s where he is that makes me shiver in unease. I almost never write sex scenes—it’s a handy general rule, I’ve found—because I can not shake the idea that all of it is ludicrous and badly written. I understand that Tom Wolfe tackled a sex scene and intentionally wrote it to be awkward and awful, but to me that’s like farting at a party and calling it performance art.

This is a YA novel anyway, so I’m not about to put myself in the position of hating my words any more than I do at the moment.

I keep writing about the pushing through of NaNoWriMo, because it’s true: I notice that the Web site isn’t running as slowly as it was on Day 2. I assume this is because lots of folks aren’t working on their manuscripts anymore. That’s a shame, but there’s also nothing stopping them from taking to the keyboard and resuming. Hear that? Get back to your work area, people! Now I sound like the petite bourgeoisie in a Russian factory. It’s not like that. NaNoWriMo is a great motivator to hunker down and set some habits, but it’s not forced labor. Would that I were just a large cheering section.

As far as actual writing goes, today I’m going to write chapter 7. Many folks who haven’t dropped out are ahead of me, but I like this place in the book, and I’m a believer that the middle of a book is a lot like the stereotypes about middle children. I’m determined not to overlook mine. I have to up the crisis level for my protagonist, Jack, and dangle a few carrots, because this kid is on the edge of a breakdown, and nobody wants that. He doesn’t know it, but he’s right around the corner from seeing all the possibilities out there in the world.

I would never want to quit before that happened.

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Categories: ponderings


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4 Comments on “NaNoWriMo: Days 8 and 9”

  1. November 9, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    I have rarely read or seen a sex scene that advanced the plot in and of itself. They’re almost always gratuitous. They’re also when I get up at the theater to go to the bathroom.

    • evmaroon
      November 9, 2010 at 8:48 am #

      Aw, you mean you walked out on Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise in Top Gun? Heartless!

      I quite agree. Unless that’s the purpose of a piece—I’ve seen some very well done erotica, I suppose—I don’t think it does much for a story. But it’s a great example of something I think I’m no good at writing. It just dovetails nicely with my near-total lack of interest.

  2. hsofia
    November 9, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    The NaNo site is faster (at least in large part) due to the correction of a subscription issue. Well, per the NaNo site folks.

    I am struggling with the middle, too. I liked your advice the other day when I was stuck – write what I think is the last scene of the book. I might work my way back from there.

    • evmaroon
      November 9, 2010 at 9:15 am #

      Oh, because the middle of November is exactly when they should do an upgrade. Yeesh.
      Hey, you can upside-down if it helps! I’m glad you’re unstuck. Carry on!

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