We have reached the final week of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) and I once again have been participating. As I type these words I can’t help but think “Dang, these don’t count towards the 50,000 word goal…” As such I will keep it brief, so I can get back to words that do count!
2018’s NaNo has been an interesting one for me. As usual I went the Pantsing route, which means I sat down on November 1st with no plan or idea of what I’d write a novel about. I simply started typing.
I am now at 42,000 words and not only have an idea what the novel is about, but there is an ending in sight.
One interesting aspect of the current NaNo is that my refusal to quit was more passionate than other attempts. This novel, which is tentatively called Saint Greg, was not an easy one. It literally took me 35,000 words before I wrote a single “true” scene. The rest were rambling disasters as I learned who the characters were and what made them tick. Still, I pushed through and have arrived at the finish line. Or at least 8,000 words away from the finish, which after a month of furious writing seems like a breeze by comparison. I only got here because I absolutely refused to give up, which I wanted to do almost every day.
My story revolves around a rather angry young man for whom not much goes well. Or, perhaps, not much goes well in his eyes, which is an important distinction to make. I could likely write the exact same story with a character who has a different attitude towards life and come away with a much different result. Lou, the main character of Saint Greg, is more often than not bitter and argumentative. His outlook is bleak, and things only get bleaker (which is the usual outcome when you approach life in that way). Also I gave him a job at the Printing Center at Staples, so that alone would be reason for conflict and/or despair.* 😛
I am not sure where things will end up, exactly. The ending has not yet been written. At this point I don’t expect the book to ever be read by another living soul, and so I am not going to go out of my way to tie up all loose ends. The big event which is now underway to mark the climax of the story will happen, and what lies beyond that I haven’t a clue. I suppose I’ll see when I get there. For the first 2/3rds of the story I expected Lou would never change, but now I’m wondering if a few cracks may have formed and he might come around after all.
At any rate, I’m glad I participated in NaNo again this year. It was a misery at times, and more often than not I had to force myself to sit down and MAKE myself write, but in the end I learned some important lessons and, most importantly, practiced my craft of writing. No author improves their writing by not-writing, so even this mess of a first-draft-novel has been beneficial.
To anyone reading this who is, or wishes to be, a writer, don’t forget to put your butt in the chair and write. It’s the only way.
*Side note, I’m sure some folks who work at Staples or any office store print shop enjoy their jobs. For which I am glad! Having worked in retail, I can think of few jobs I would personally be less enthusiastic about, so you’ll forgive me for my opinion on the subject. I’m not sure I’d have the patience to deal with all the folks who one would have to deal with at a printing center, especially when they don’t know a PDF from a low-rez JPG. For those who help such folks navigate the challenges of printing files, and do it with a smile, I am grateful.