On NaNoWriMo

This odd activity has the majority of my blogging friends and family writing 50,000-word novels this month, and, swept up in the wave of creativity energy, I signed up too. The first week of this month has had me on a tough deadline and buying a house (color added for enthusiasm and glee) and it’s already clear to me that writing 50,000 words in these particular 30 days of November is a totally unrealistic goal.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving it up. That just wouldn’t be me, now, would it? Instead, I’ll probably flog and flagellate myself continually whilst churning out hideous and disjointed prose in insufficient quantities. I've already written enough to determine that, no, NaNoWriMo is not a magical activity that mysteriously elicits The Great American Novel That Resides in All of Us. I’ve written other fiction that I know was better simply because I actually had a story I cared about and characters that, even at the worst of times, remotely interested me. No, NaNoWriMo is about the creative process, dispelling self-judgment, discipline, community, and, perhaps, pirates. (Get to know a few NaNoWriMoans and you’ll soon discover they use a lot of additional words and throw in many additional details (plus plenty of peripherally related parenthetical comments), often completely out of context and simply added for volume. But no, this isn’t part of my NoNo (November Novel) so, no, I probably shouldn’t be doing that here. It’s fun, though, isn’t it, to see how far you can take it?)

But back to the point—I’ve also written enough to determine that the most painful aspect of writing is its very solitary nature. So, in order to make the process more fun for myself, I’ll occasionally post some of my more hideous excerpts. (And no, I don’t secretly think these are good.)

Here’s the first:

She fumbled with the tea bag trying to get it out of its box. When she poured the boiling water over the bag into the cup, she forgot and filled it too full. How was it that she could be thinking to herself that she had to leave some room for the milk, and then in that very split second, forget to leave room for the milk? Perhaps it was their influence, all the lurkers in her head. They weren’t supposed to jump in there, were they. They were supposed to stay where they’d started out, harmless and pathetic in their utter voyeurism and vicariousness. But she felt their presence at the oddest times, and before she knew it, five minutes had passed and the tea was steeped.

I'm really sad to say that I already loathe this character, and I’m only 1000 words in. My mom said I should kill her off, and I just might.

And by the way, have I mentioned that we bought a house?! (NaNoWriMoans are also fans of repetition. It helps the word count AND makes sure your readers don't forget the pertinent details whilst wading through all that wordy crap.)


Mary Tsao said...

I hate my main character, too! But then I started hating her husband even more. He's gonna go bye bye soon. Maybe even today...

Congrats again on the house!

Unknown said...

i kind of like the tea bag girl. wait til you meet Patty, my 'new wife'. mary i just sent you an excerpt. Patty is not you,
really. now her friend, Gloria, might be you, but Patty is total fiction. love, tt
oh, and by the way? yesterday at this time i hated all my characters, but after today's short writing session i kind of like them all. although the husband is really lame.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen!
Congrats on the house! That's fab news! And I'm impressed that you're doing the novel thing. Sorry I didn't call you back yet. I'm feeling pretty tired lately.

(talk to you later)


Jennifer said...

I'm glad to hear your characters are at least hate-able... that's proof that they exist?!

Amy: thanks and yeah, I know was TTYL means! LOL. That means LOL. HAHAHA...