November 26, 2009

They Don't Eat The Turkeys Here

As I watch a bush turkey wobble its fat bottom on the fence in my backyard, I am reminded how much I have to be thankful for.

This year, I've had the opportunity to go diving with sharks, hike over volcanoes, and have adventures with family and friends on both sides of the equator.

I'm with someone who makes me laugh, who isn't terrified by my bursts of weirdness, AND who celebrates me, and my writing, every day.

I have the time, and the courage, to write. And finally, I'm doing it. And loving every minute.

However, I am not thankful for the bush turkeys that crash through our saplings and peck over my leftovers at our favorite cafe. Too bad we aren't supposed to eat them: it's too hot for turkey, anyway.

November 25, 2009

Nano, I Think It's Over Between Us

There are four more days in November: that means I should be at about 46,000 words. I'm currently squatting on 32,740.

For those of you who don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). The challenge that Nanowrimo poses is to write 50,000 words in one month. That's a heap ton of words.

Not that I was worried, mind you. At the beginning of the month, I was flying. Since I was jobless and waiting-for-visa, I had all the time in the world. My fingers were singing along to the tune of thousands of words an afternoon. I was feeling badass and author-like.

Of course, I cheated. You're supposed to start the month with a fresh project, something you haven't yet started to write. I was already 65,000 words into my first novel-length project. The juices were flowing. I was at the 'By George!' stage of the process, where plot details finally click into place and you slide manically and excitingly towards the story's resolution. I had fallen in love with my characters, who were about to go through some big deal experiences- I couldn't very well STOP. So I used the first half of the month to finish. Fist-pumping ensued. Midnight brownies were made and consumed along with copious amounts of cheap champagne. Pupils became dilated to dish-plate status.

That got me to 20,000 words. I was feeling so excited by my writerly fervor that I soldiered right into a new project, thinking the first 30,000 words of that would go as smoothly as the last 20,000 of the other had.

My mistake.

The first section was great, as it always is: the idea was fresh, the characters were mysterious, and the plot-line was still misty. Then I hit the section where I realized that the words coming out of my fingertips weren't doing justice to the story in my head. Not even close. My characters were silly. My plot was undefined. I seriously considered printing out a copy just so I could set it on fire.

I have to tell you, Nanowrimo, I applaud your enthusiasm and your general goal. I just don't like to write to word count. It gives me no time to brainstorm about my characters, or pace around my office flapping intermittently and talking to myself. It forces me to pump out 'filler' words that I'm going to have to throw out later. It turns writing into a race, and getting to a certain word count into 'winning'. The thing is, a really bad draft makes for a terrible trophy prize.

Thanks, Nano, for teaching me that this is NOT the way I like to write.