Thursday, November 16, 2006
midway through november (word count: 32,980)
I am so, so relieved to find that November is half over. At the same time, I can’t help thinking: only half??
NaNoWriMo has been a great experience so far… but my daily quota of 3000 words is starting to take a toll. (Though, actually, 3000 words was a treat today. The past two days I had to kick it up to 4000 words, to make up for a lazy day on Monday. 4000 words feels like murder, and I couldn’t string together complete sentences by the end of each day. Note to self: no more lazy Mondays.)
Taking a trip to Nebraska last weekend was a welcome break!
My sister, me, and my sister’s boyfriend, after the two of them sang Carmina Burana with the Omaha Symphony
The concert was, of course, gorgeous, and I loved spending quality time with Adrienne and Jon. My parents and I had a blast driving there and back—during the last hour before reaching home, we played thirteen frantic rounds of the alphabet game (with Js and Qs in maddeningly short supply).
But now the weekend feels like forever ago, as I spin out word after mundane word on my poor, crippled novel. I keep trying to remind myself that every single paper for school started with an equally (well, maybe not equally) ugly draft (all except that one…). I’ve found a way to cope, though, and a way to note the problems as I create them. (This is completely brilliant. Prepare to be amazed.)
I’ve made a list of codes that squash keyboard symbols with the actual text, so that I can mark the bad bits and not skew my word count. For example, typing a word like this~ means that I’ve done something inexcusable with point of view. This<
means that I need to expand with research. (Goodness knows when I’ll get that done!) This$ means I’ve just typed a cliché, and this@ means I’ve broken the Golden Rule of “Show, don’t tell.” And this%, which gets used quite a lot, means that I’ve just written extremely, deeply bad prose. I use that last one a lot. Cathartic, yes? Actually, I often have words that end like this$~@%%%%%%. And after those words, I wonder if I shouldn’t just give it up altogether.
Still, I am proud of having over 32,000 words. That’s a ton of writing, and I get a rush out of scrolling through all those pages on my computer. But after a long day, I like to do something nonverbal. I’ve been knitting like mad in the evenings, usually while watching/listening to a DVD commentary. I’ve just discovered those (took me awhile, eh?), and I feel like I’ve stumbled into a whole new world. (Throw a cliché sign by that last word, okay?) It’s been really great to hear directors and writers discuss why they chose to write characters a certain way.
The rest of the time is divided between researching (I’m doing just a little) and mapmaking, believe it or not. I’ve been doodling on graph paper, trying to get a better sense of the place that I’m writing about. Today I grabbed a handful of colored pencils to fill it in, and my finished masterpiece hangs near my computer. I loved making it—coloring brings back soothing memories of paste and kindergarten, and I forget that I have thousands of words before I sleep, thousands of words…—jl