early monday morning

I am up absurdly early. Even more absurdly than the timestamp might suggest. The boy leaves for work at 6am and I was vaguely awake then and somewhere in the vague awakeness I figured out the entire plot of my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel.

Seriously, the entire thing. Making just one change tied everything together in a perfect bow and made my recurring themes make so much more sense. I had to get up to write it all down, and even looking at it from the other side of a cup of tea it all makes sense.

I love moments like these, when everything falls into place. There is a shaft of early morning sunshine falling across my computer monitor. I decided to see what Pandora would come up with in a Tori Amos station and it is brilliant.

Of course, I have another novel to finish before I can really go and play in the recently untangled one too much. But it is almost there, with only la few outlined edits and additions to go, and it’s nice to know that I have someplace waiting for me that makes more sense today than it did yesterday.

Photograph taken late yesterday afternoon of the window of an antiques store. A couple more from a chilly but springy afternoon on my Flickr photostream.

vikings make everything better

I reached the 50k mark for my NaNovel on Saturday. It’s the earliest I’ve ever hit 50k in six years of NaNoing, so that’s something of an accomplishment. I’m at 53k now and I still have quite a bit to go before this draft is anywhere near done, but that’s ok.

I think one of the things I like about NaNoWriMo is that not only does it give you a deadline, which is magical, but it gives you bragging rights and fun icons. It is like getting a gold star in kindergarten, it is simple but extremely happy-making. I cannot even say how much I adore the Viking theme of this year’s winner icons. They are extra special triumphant.

I enjoyed this NaNo more than some previous years. Maybe I just hit upon the fact that I am especially loquacious when writing in first person (though only part of the novel is in first person, those parts did go very fast) or maybe I’ve just had a lot of practice, but I didn’t hit the “I hate my novel” phase this time around, as I usually do somewhere in week three. I had plenty of phases where I wasn’t sure where everything was going (I’m still not sure where everything is going, actually) but nothing that made me want to give up entirely.

I am going to keep writing, I want to see how much I can get done before the end of November since there are still several days left. I am, in a general sense, getting better at finishing what I start and I think for the writing side of that NaNoWriMo has been invaluable. I suppose I have Chris Baty to thank for that, so thank you Chris. You are a Viking in the best of literary Viking ways.

writing your own myths

I am just over 40k for NaNoWriMo. I should be able to get to 45k by the end of the week and 50k at some point over the weekend, which is kind of excellent.

Not so excellent, depending on how you look at it, is the fact that I am pretty sure I am not even halfway through the novel. It seems to want to be a lot more complicated than I had anticipated, and characters I’d thought were secondary are insisting on quite a bit more attention than I had intended giving them. And there are several plot loops that are making their presence known that I having figured out yet.

It seems to be pretty sure of itself at this point, so I am just going to follow it along and see where it wants to go. After five (sheesh!) years of NaNoing I am pretty familiar with how I write and what works and what doesn’t, so while I won’t say that it’s easier I think it’s less frustrating. I don’t know who is drawing the doors in back alleys in New Orleans, and that’s ok. I’m not sure who Eleanor’s grandfather was, exactly, and that’s ok. I am curious to see where it goes more than I am nervous about not knowing. It will figure itself out, and mostly I just need to stay out of its way.

It has ended up being something of a Persephone story, and a bit of a Wonderland story with a great many Alices. Only one Persephone, though.

halfway there

So I have hit the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo. Lookit the nice little progress meter:

26132 / 50000 words. 52% done!

And I’m not entirely sure where it is going. I had grandiose aspirations of doing 75k this month but I really don’t think I’m up for it. I might see how far I can get beyond 50k since I’m on pace to hit it early, but I haven’t decided yet.

Not that I’m feeling bad about it. I rather like it so far. I’m learning interesting things about my writing style, having done this so many times. I am not an outliner, I am not even much of a planner. I think I like the surprises that come with not planning, with not knowing what’s going to happen next.

I seem to start with location, and then find different ways to explore it. Approaching it from different angles, telling bits of its story through different characters. My location for this one is, at least, in very good shape. And I have a thread of something or other flowing through it that is plotish if not fully grown plot yet. There are holes in it, of course, but there’s still a good long way to go.

Am guessing that it’ll end up much like the circus did, a 100k or so draft that can be reshaped into something tighter and more coherent. I do have a tendency to ramble off in different directions but I usually learn something or find something to bring back with me.

I think that’s my favorite part about the rough draft stage, that so much of it is exploration and I never know what might turn up on the next page.