Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Winner by a Nose

The last month I've been participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) - where the task is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. You don't really get anything when you win except for the tremendous sense of relief when you are done. Which is bit like having a telephone booth dropped on you and then saying "Boy, that feels good" when it gets lifted off.

I did this two years ago and floundered for the whole month - I wrote for a week and could not bear writing anymore on what I was writing. But since I had written so many words on it I had to recycle it as an excerpt of the novel that my new novel's main character was writing. It was her first novel so it could be very bad. This second novel wasn't much better, but at least I could finish it.

This time the novel writing was fun. I had an idea from the start and knew how it was going to end - so it was a matter of filling in the stories between the beginning and the end. The prose itself was very, very pedestrian - one would say boring - I think there was one sentence in the whole 50,000 words that I was proud of. But stuff happened, a very simple plot was advanced and four very different characters were written - how I would expect to know anything about a Hawaiian girl in the 1940's, a Hungarian engineer in the 1970's and a Detroit record producer in the 1970's I can't say - but I thought I did. And what I didn't know I just made up.

Like last time, I emerge from this ordeal with a tremendous respect for those people who can write interesting sentences, paragraphs and stories - because I consistently failed at all of these. If I had more time to spend on it, I could craft them a little bit better - but the point with NaNoWriMo is not too worry about the writing and just do it and I'm glad I did.


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