Sunday, November 23, 2008


Did I mention I was writing a novel this month? Maybe I forgot to slip it into the conversation somewhere along the line, but I have been. I'm still working on it; according to Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated), to "win" I must reach 50,000 words by the end of Nov. 30th. Frankly, to "win" I just want to reach the end of my shitty first draft by that time, which should be around 50,000 words, so that I can go back and flesh it out, fix it, make dreadful things happen to good people, introduce B-plots and fascinating secondary characters, and then polish it till it shines.

No small goal, but one must start somewhere. Which is where Nanowrimo comes in for me.

Generally, it is something non-professional writers use to spur literary efforts and novel production from someday to now, but it can also produce published writers as a result, and also spur "professional" writers to get off their professional duffs and write something new, bold and scary.

For example, I was going to write a mystery. In fact, a mystery I've been dying to write for years, with lots of well fleshed out characters, a theme, a lot of action and a great place to stash a body. But when November was almost here, I was suddenly intrigued by the thought, "What if the characters in my screenplay, Cake, met in high school, instead of as twenty-somethings," and bingo, I was writing a YA.

Which has left me uttering the same gag when explaining my current occupation: "I'm writing a YA, so I'm up to my elbows in bodily fluids." Stupid, I know, but it's true. More dreadful things happen to my heroine per page than anyone I've written. It's fun! And I am faced with the pleasurable task of researching contemporary adolescence, rounding up experts on drug verbage and practices, dating rituals, sexual mores, and the intricacies of Cross-Country, and boy, am I glad to have friends with teenagers to chat with. I was privvy to a fascinating exchange about video games tonight that will have to be written up, whether or not it ever sees publication.

Currently I'm on page 129, about 35,000 words, with seven days to go. I might make it, I might not. But I'm going to really give it a go. The good news is I can't stop thinking about it, the bad news that sometimes I have to

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