Why do dogs love turkey so much? We left the turkey on the stove on Saturday night, to be picked at. My dog parked herself in the kitchen and barked at it, one bark every 5 or 10 seconds, until we kicked her out of the room.
Thanks for the comments on my last post. This is something I’m ruminating on and will likely come back to in the not-too-distant future.
Now for some fresh meat:
Well, there’s two days left in the insanity that is NaNoWriMo. To those of you that have crossed (hi, Donna) or will cross the finish line with your minimum of 50,000 words, a big, hearty congratulations! I’m sure you know the work isn’t done yet, but you definitely deserve a pat on the back.
For those of you who tried and did not or will not reach the magic line, that’s OK. I sometimes think we overdo it with our kids and the non-competitive thing – you know, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game and all that – but not in this case. For NaNo it really is the effort that counts. So, congratulations on trying, hopefully it is something that was good for you whether you reached 50K or not. The real important part is what comes next: finishing. I mean, really finishing the story. That means not stopping just because you hit 50K words if the story’s not really finished.
NaNo was a bust for me this year, but that’s OK in my book. I probably shouldn’t have signed up for it in the first place. As my musings in September and October showed (okay, so that last one was really November. I didn't want to throw off my posting schedule), I was rather ambivalent on it, and, once I started, I was not really ‘all in’. I was still pounding out revisions on that other thing, which was much more important to me than NaNo. So, in the first two weeks of NaNo, I managed all of 4100 words. When I cleared Parallel Lives from the deck I had a brief burst where I nearly quadrupled the word count in a span of four days (which was also tied into a change in PoV on my NaNo novel). And then I pretty much stopped, overwhelmed by a combination of Holiday preparations and something new that crept into my brain.
But again, it’s okay. NaNoWriMo 2010 showed me two things: first, that I could shut down that irritating (and often disabling) internal editor; two, that I could write 50,000 words in a month. Knowing this, I really didn’t need to do NaNo this year. After finishing last year’s NaNo, I cranked out 44,000 words on what became Parallel Lives in just under a month. So I came into the year’s NaNo without really needing it in the same way I needed it last year.
Detractors of NaNo point to tips on padding word count and talk about how it encourages sloppy writing habits. What I found this year, in particular, once I got way behind, is that I didn’t like pushing myself in the same way I did last year. I would start a writing session knowing that I ‘needed’ 2800 words to meet my quota for the day, and I found myself obsessively-checking my word count, and pushing on when my body and mind were telling me I was through for the moment. This works well for some people, but it’s not my style.
I think the biggest problem with me and NaNo this year was I just didn’t quite have the story down. It’s been in my head for the last year-and-a-half or so, and I’ve done a couple of start-stops on it. I figured, let me give it a fresh start for NaNo. Good idea. But I could never quite get a good hold of it. I thought I might be onto something when I changed the PoV (I keep hearing a particular character in my head as the MC, and was using first; it wasn’t until I switched to 3rd that I had my biggest burst of writing). And then, in last week’s writing group, I wrote a vignette about a man and a woman in a workplace breakroom. I like it a lot, and really want to do something with it, I just don’t know what, and it’s kind of pushed this story back a little bit. And, in the spirit of NaNoReviMo, I also broke out last year’s NaNo and started reading through it. I was never happy with the way it ended – it felt rushed at the time, the product of erroneous thinking on my part, that I needed to not just hit 50K words, but that I also needed to finish the story. I also wanted to see if it was as bad as my memory of a quickie read-through last April or May told me it was. It was, and it wasn’t, but after getting through half of it yesterday, I think I can see the diamond in the rough.
So, I pretty much put this year’s NaNo to bed at 19,000 words. It’s still a story that wants to be told, but I guess I’m just not quite ready to tell it. Not yet. Right now there are other stories to tell, other stories to polish. I guess this one just needs more time in the hopper.
Thanks for reading.