Thursday, November 29, 2007

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!


Yesterday I passed the 50,000 word mark on my Nanowrimo novel! Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month,began with 21 people in 1999; this year there were 90,000 participants, including my neighbor here, my friend Sue in Vermont (who told me about the project in the first place), her daughter, and my daughter. The deal is, you sign up to begin writing November 1, and your goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. Along the way you get encouraging emails from famous authors and repeated warnings NOT to get hung up on little things like plot, editing or characters; the goal is just to let it flow and save all the editing until December.

As a lifelong editor by nature and often by trade, I found this whole concept incredibly freeing. We were admonished NOT to worry about plot or characters before November 1, just to start typing on that day and see what happened. When I sat down November 1 (I went up to Shaw Island for a couple of days to get off to a good start) I had decided on a title, but was otherwise flying blind. And now that the 50,000 words are up, I see that the title has very little to do with the plot (it was to be called Gap Year but the action takes place over about a month) and that where I ended up (with all four of my major characters speeding to a clinic after having been a)shot, b)hit on the head, c)bound and gagged and left in a van overnight and d)knocked out) is a LONG way away from where I started (an Episcopal priest taking on an interim parish assignment on a small island in the San Juans after the priest runs off with one of his parishioners).

Obviously I have a lot of loose ends to tie up! But the important thing is that, for the first time, I was actually able to churn out an entire novel -- roughly 1700 words a day for 30 days! Whether I ever tidy this one up so it's actually readable (which I hope to do, if it's possible) or I never write another one (as if! I can't wait til NEXT November to do it again!) I'm just pleased that I did it, pleased that I stuck with it. And, frankly, it was a LOT of fun watching the characters spring to life and take me to such interesting places.

So now you know why this blog slowed down so much this month -- my writing energies were going elsewhere. And the growing irreverence of my entries is probably a result of hanging out with my irreverent characters -- clearly they were a bad influence on me!

I think I'll stop here and go tackle those loose ends -- I'm sure it's going to take another chapter or two to get everyone stabilized and back on track.

1 comment:

karengberger said...

Congratulations! What an inspired undertaking.
Bless you,
Karen