Nanowrimo. Fifty thousand words in thirty days.
It’s going well, so far, if “well” can mean generating only slightly under 6,000 words (at the publishing of this post) in three and a half days and developing a persistent ache in my writing hand.
I certainly would, even though my stats page over at the Nanowrimo site says that if I can keep this up, I’ll finish on December 10th, which isn’t particularly ideal.
If I’m gonna do this thing, I want a $#!%ing winner’s badge.
But word count isn’t the only goal for National Novel Writing Month. It isn’t even the primary one for me.
This has been a tough year for all kinds of reasons, and its been all too easy to let my writing suffer for it.
I need to ignore my inner critic, that nasty, bullying bitch who insists that every single, stinking sentence be perfect, and I haven’t been. I need to stop waiting to get the details right before I start and I haven’t been. I need to get out of my own way and I haven’t been.
I need to write like it’s a priority and I haven’t been.
Maybe placing word count over quality, at least for a while, will do the trick.
I started with a list of general scenes I thought I needed, scribbled over lunch on October 31—there’s foreshadowing for you—when I still wasn’t sure it was the best idea to give myself a huge honking project on top of everything else that’s going on around here.
Maybe it isn’t, but there’s always something going on, isn’t there? And I’m starting to think that waiting for the perfect time is a losing game.
It’s time to try making the imperfect times work for me.
So far, I’ve hit two of the scenes from my list, introduced a couple of important secondary characters, sussed out some relationship dynamics, and learned a lot about my MCs father, who is not your average bear.
Have I written a lot of crap that will need to be edited out?
This morning, I did a page and a half about waiting for a backyard grill to heat and barely remembered to have the MC mention a clue I’d absent-mindedly planted in the previous scene.
The coffee must have hit about then: Oh! Right! Mystery novel!
But it’s dawning on my that writing down all this extraneous stuff makes it so much easier to clear it away.
Out of brain, out of mind.
Some of this stuff might be part of the unseen backstory of the characters, some might end up being a quiet throwaway backdrop for the setting. Other stuff may belong in a different scene or in a completely different story. Or it may be utter bilge, destined for the editor’s sump pump.
Regardless, it isn’t gumming up the works anymore.
And I already have a better idea of what this book isn’t and who the characters might be—even if a lot of them are working under the names X and Y because I refuse to stop to figure it out—and I’m slapping notes on previous pages to remind myself to FIX THIS LATER.
I have a side list of plot points and characters and motivations and agendas. And that clue.
I have the makings, the inklings, the possibility of a cohesive plot.
I have, apparently, salmon burgers waiting to be seared over an untreated charcoal fire and perhaps a bit too much organic hard cider.
And a little over 44,000 words to go.