Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

Way back in November I talked incessantly about participating in NaNoWriMo.  Miracle of miracles I wrote a first-draft, 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

And that was the end of that.

I’ve since tried to work on editing the novel to little avail.  And then my bloggy friend Kath of Miniscule Moments asked me recently, “how’s the writing going?”

Damn you, Kath!

Because of Kath and her undying support of my writing aspirations I decided to have a little interview with Trudy, the main character of my NaNoWriMo novel.  Wouldn’t you know that Trudy got the fires burning.  I want to get back to that blank page (which is basically how I see the editing process) and go for it.  Narcisse Harbor is at the forefront of my mind and I’ll be editing here and there until I deem it satisfactory for someone other than myself to read.

Thank you, Kath.  This blog post is dedicated to you.

So goes the interview with Trudy:

Me:  So, you’re Trudy.  You’ve come out of my head and onto the page, but you’re not exactly in living color, which is why I invited you here for a little chat.  I’d love to get to know you better.

Trudy:  That’s very nice, Sara.  I’m happy to be here.  However, you do realize that I’m pretty easy to figure out because A) part of me is you and B) the rest of me comes out of your head, so what’s to know?

Me:  Yeah, well, you don’t have to get all snarky about it.  I get your two points, but there’s got to be more and I’d love for you to help me delve into your psyche, or my imagination, to make you the most loveable and relatable character in my book.  So, if you’re done being a brat can we continue with the interview?

Trudy:  Oh all right!

Trudy sounded pretty exasperated with that last comment.

Me:  First of all, why Narcisse Harbor?  Why did you decide to move there instead of, say, Manhattan.  Everyone loves a city girl.  You could be a total Carrie Bradshaw if you wanted, but you decided to live in some podunk town on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Narcisse Harbor. A place I made up and a place I’ve been.

Trudy: I didn’t plan on moving to Narcisse Harbor.  It began as a get-away after my husband of ten years died unexpectedly.  Our lawyer was kind enough to let me stay at his lake house for a while and then wham!  He offered to sell it to me.  The guy was really smart and waited to offer the house to me after I’d been there for a while, long enough to really take to the place.  See, I started out like that Carrie Bradshaw city girl before I got married.  It’s kind of a long story.  Do you really want to get into it?

Me:  Well, yeah.  That’s why I’m here.

Trudy:  God.  OK.  I was a svelte city girl when I met Matthew, who later became my husband.  He convinced me to tone it down and become one of those suburban housewives, which was fine with me, except I didn’t know that would be the death of myself at the time.  After ten years of being a suburban housewife (of not-so-modest means – we were stinkin’ rich actually) and finding a dead husband in my bed one morning, Julian, our lawyer, suggested I go to Narcisse Harbor because he was convinced I’d find the people I was really meant to be with.  I was skeptical, as is my nature, but damn if in the end he wasn’t right.  And it wasn’t until after I found those people that he offered to sell me his house.  It was like he was psychic or something.

Me:  So, what’s with the writing thing?  You’re always writing stuff on your laptop, and for what?  You’re not blogging, so your “journal”  isn’t shared with anyone.  You don’t have any kids so you’re not leaving it for posterity.  What’s the deal?

Trudy:  You know all about the writing.  Sometimes you just have to do it.  No, I don’t write to share it with anyone, I write because the blank page is a trusted friend to whom I can tell anything.  Anything.  I have conversations with this blank page.  Yes, conversations.  It talks back to me, although what it says is like invisible ink.  I respond to what it says and only my thoughts are shown on the page.  It’s an outlet.  If I didn’t have it I might likely hurt myself or others.  That’s cause for major medical lock-down action, and I don’t want to contend with that.   So I write.

Me:  Are you telling me you’re a lonely soul?

Trudy:  Not so much lonely, but I was misunderstood for a really long time.  The blank page/screen understood me.  Despite my independent nature, there’s something in all of us that wants someone or something to understand us, at least partially.  And because I’ve been without a family for so long I didn’t have anyone who knew me my whole life.  There’s something to that, you know?  Even family members who’ve know you your whole life get you to some extent.  It was only when I got married that I realized no one “got” me except myself/blank page.

Me:  But David understood you.  Tell me about your treacherous love triangle.

Trudy:  *laughing*  You make it sound so dramatic.

Me:  You’re right.  We’re not here to talk about the other characters in the story.  In a nutshell, tell me how your life has been until this point, and why it’s like that.

Trudy:  I was family-less for a long time.  I sought excitement and attention in my city life, bar hopping and being drown in loud music.  I stayed busy in a hectic social scene to forget what I was missing, but when it comes right down to it I knew I wouldn’t find any answers or comfort in that lifestyle.  It was just a way to ignore the holes in my life.  Matthew came along and he was totally into me.  He was the person who had balls enough to ask me to marry him, so I did.  Then I did everything I could to make him happy.  Without knowing it I was making myself completely unhappy.  I didn’t come to terms with that until after Matthew died.  When Julian offered his lake house as a respite after Matthew’s death and all the pomp and circumstance after his death I finally came to terms with who I really was and met some people with whom I felt comfortable enough to be myself.  Because I went to Narcisse Harbor as an anonymous phantom it didn’t really matter to me if I created relationships or not.  Despite my anonymity those people found me and cared enough to leave me in my anonymity until I was ready to reveal myself.

Me:  I feel kind of sorry for you.

Trudy:  Oh please.  Don’t.  Brian May said it best in the song Good Company: “All through the years in the end it appears there was never really anyone but me.”  Once we realize that, we can begin to live our lives to the fullest without depending on or blaming anyone else for what happens to us.

Me:  Wow.  You’re really insightful.  It’s amazing that I invented you.

Trudy:  Congratulations.  With the creation of me you’re learning a little bit about yourself, huh?

Me:  Yeah, well, I think we can both thank the blank page for what we’ve become.

Trudy:  I’ll drink to that.

So Kath, and all you other people out there, what do you think of Trudy?

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Hello again.  It’s been a while since I’ve written on these pages.

As you may or may not know, the biggest thing that’s happened to me since I’ve been here last is…

I Wrote A Novel!

That’s right.  I successfully reached the NaNoWriMo goal of writing a 50,000-word story in thirty days.  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  The pressure was certainly on, and I had other things to do besides writing during November, but I did it.  I did it!  My story has a beginning, middle, and end as required by the challenge, but it’s far from finished.  Maybe during the cozy winter nights by the fire I can do some editing and rewriting, cutting and adding to the story; then who knows ~ it might just be worthy for other people to read.

Also significant, for me at least, was the last show of the craft show season for Auntie B’s Wax.  Holiday at the Depot in Taylors Falls, MN has been a one-day show in years past, but this year it went to two.  I was less than excited about the additional day, but it turned out to be one of the most fun shows I did all year.  Of course sales increased with the addition of another day of shoppers, but most fun of all was the bonding Husby and I did with the rest of the vendors.  It’s quite an intimate little show with only ten of us, so we had some extra time to get all caught up with each other.  We decided that if the show is two days again next year we’ll just have a big sleep-over in the Depot.  We’re not too sure the city officials would go for that idea though.

With a novel under my belt and the craft show season behind me I can concentrate on the Christmas season.  Husby and I cut a tree today so that’s ready to find a home in our rumpus room this week.

It just started to snow and Husby has a pot of chili simmering on the stove.  What a perfect evening.

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I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled novel writing to give some gratitude.  First, I’d like to thank those of you who have encouraged me and this novel writing business.  I’ve got ten days to go to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, which really equates to seven because seriously, how am I supposed to have Thanksgiving plus a craft show the two days following and also write over nearly six thousand words those days?  Your continued encouragement is appreciated.

Me, these days.

Secondly, I’d like to thank Kelly Robinson who is the author of the blog Book Dirt.  She so graciously featured my very fun (and often irreverent and naughty) pulp magnets on her blog.  Her blog is all about books, and she, being a ghostwriter, freelance writer, and essayist, along with working in a bookstore for over sixteen years, knows her books.  And better still she appreciates a good book cover.  I’m flattered that she finds my pulp magnets worthy of mention in her blog, but I must say I still love them myself even after making them for years.  If you’re a lover of writing, a lover of books, or a lover a blogs go and check out Kelly’s blog.

Kelly points out the fact that in my Etsy shop most of the magnets only have “one available.”  I’d like to make it perfectly clear that if anyone wants more than one of a certain kind I’m happy to oblige and will make more.  Afterall, I’m in the business of not only making magnets, but also making my customers happy.

Thank you, Kelly, for such high praise, and the rest of you for your support in my crafting and writing endeavors.  I’ll be back soon, you can be sure.

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What Do You Do?

Last night I got a little sick of writing my NaNoWriMo novel thinking it was just too dreadful, going back and forth between chuck it and there’s plenty of time for editing.  Chuck it was winning.  For the first time I reread from the beginning what I have written so far.  Surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.  I didn’t bother with any editing (and there certainly has to be some a lot) but the main thing I was concerned about was the voice of my protagonist.  I want her voice to change slightly throughout, with her having a very different voice at the end of the story than when it started.  I don’t know if that’s going to actually happen or not, but I was satisfied to see her voice wasn’t all over the board only 15,000 words into the story.  My writing tends to come out differently with my changing moods, and I was afraid the tone of my story would reflect that and not have any continuity.  Listen to me, talking about protagonists and continuity.  I sound like a real writer!

Jane Austen was a writer. A real writer. But does the fact that she’s been published and that her works are considered classics make her more of a writer than I am? Well, sort of, I guess.

I’m still not on board with the whole “if you write you are a writer” thing, but it kind of makes sense.  If one plays the piano she is a pianist whether she does so professionally or not.  If I write then I am a writer.  It seems like people have different expectations when you tell them you are something.  That’s bugged me for a long time.  When people ask “what do you do?” how does one respond?  I cook, I clean, I write, I craft…the list can go on and on.  But when someone asks “what do you do?” they’re always referring to your profession, or how you earn your money.  For those of us who earn a living with a job we feel no passion for, that question can be annoying at the very least.  To a stranger or acquaintance we’re defined by our jobs and it’s only until someone gets to know us that we become more complex and interesting.  We could be interesting at the outset if we told strangers what we really do rather than how we earn money.

How great would it be if when asked “what do you do?” people answered with what they do to find joy in life rather than their profession.  If they answered “I’m a writer” because they keep a journal.  If they answered “I’m a baker” because they love the feel of flour on their hands.  We’d find out more about who that person is rather than how they earn money.  Or maybe we should change our initial question to “what do you like to do?”  

Right now I’m a writer.  It’s consuming a lot of my time, and whether it will eventually earn some money for me or not it is, among many other things, who I am.  Now, off I go to do that voodoo I do so well.*

* You don’t even have to do what you do well to claim it as what you do.  That’s the beauty of it all!

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Here’s the thing about furious writing – it isn’t good writing.  At least in my case it’s not.

I’ve kept up with writing my NaNoWriMo novel for seven days now.  My word count is above par, but only slightly.  The trickiest part of this write-a-novel-in-thirty-days thing is being able to ignore my inner critic.  I’m so tempted to put my furious writing on hold to do the editing that is so very necessary.  But editing comes later, or so they say.  I don’t know what will happen when I read my finished product at the end of thirty days.  Maybe I won’t even think it’s worth editing!

So that’s the question.  If I don’t edit as I go along will the story stink so much I won’t want to bother with it anymore?  Or will the raw story inspire me to work on the editing in the months following NaNoWriMo?  One thing I know for sure is if I stop to edit as I go along I’ll never get the whole story written by the end of the month.

I’m heading into a four-day weekend and have big plans for more furious writing as well as getting some things ready for an upcoming event at The Farmer’s Daughter next weekend and the Holiday at the Depot craft show on Thanksgiving weekend.  I found out the Depot show is going to be two days instead of one, so I want to be sure I’m prepared.

I kind of wish NaNoWriMo was in March.  I wouldn’t be so busy with the upcoming holiday season both on the personal and business levels.  I suppose there was a reason the NaNo gurus chose November but I haven’t figured that out yet.  Despite their seemingly unfortunate decision to use November I’ll plug away at my novel the best I can.

To all my NaNoWriMo friends out there, I hope you’re doing well and keeping up.  I’m rooting for you!  God have mercy on us all.

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