Monday, October 28, 2013

Four Days Before the Black Hole

Alright folks.  It's October 28st, which for the semi-insane of us, means it's four days until NaNo starts.

For those who are not "in the know" and who have not crossed into the crazytown that is National Novel Writing Month, let me explain to you:
1. You start writing a 50,000 word novel on November 1st.
2. You continue writing at least 1667 words every day, writing until you finish your 50,000 words. 
3. At some point between November 1st and November 30th you go semi-insane.

Now let me define "semi-insane."  For me it involves a lot of daydreaming about this fictional (and let's face it, somewhat idiotic) characters I have created.  I sometimes dream about them.  Sometimes this is beneficial.  "Hey [spouse}!  I had the best dream last night and now I know what I'm going to do with that scene that isn't working for me."  The rest of the time these dreams are  more freestyle.  "Hey [spouse].  I had a dream last night that my character stole my laundry and when I told you about it, you said it was my fault because I left the shirts in the dryer overnight.  Then the cats turned into burritos and flew away."

Honestly, the semi-insanity is one of the highlights of the month.  There are few things people do in life that are 100% your own and that you completely control.  It's nice when things start forming in your mind without you consciously thinking about it.  Feeling something grow almost organically because of your own imagination is liberating.

This tends to mean that you lose touch with a lot of things.  TV shows.  The gym.  Facebook (unless that's your distraction of choice).  I fall into the NaNo Black Hole every year.

No, let me correct that.  I plunge into the Nano Black Hole.  I bathe in it.  I wear the Black Hole like my favorite ratty sweatshirt.  I love having a somewhat ridiculous excuse for just not calling or talking to anyone.  I love having week after week where I pretty much sleep, work and write.  "Sorry, guys.  I can't go drinking tonight because I'm 2000 words behind on my word count."  "I was going to return your call last night, but I was on a roll with my word count."  (Applies equally to "I was going to call you last night, but I was behind on my word count.")  Friends might get sick of hearing about "word count" but I get so sucked up in it it's hard to be too concerned.

The problem is that this year, just like last year, I have no ideas.  A couple years ago, when I wrote one of best pieces I've done (not that it's a masterwork by any stretch of the imagination) I knew what I was going to write in July.  I spent months letting it formulate in my mind.  Last year?  I came up with my idea a day or two before and my story sort of derailed about around the 30,000 word mark.  My coblogger came for a weekend and while she wrote, I pretty much stared out the window and rewrote the same scene eight times because it never made any sense. Not my finest moments. 

Fortunately, my coblogger has told me that she is in the same boat this year.  Getting to be the last minute.  No ideas.

So here's to last minute panics, writing a horribly bloated story and for rediscovering just how creative you can be in a pinch!


  1. Bahahah I loved your dream description! I've never done NaNo (I honestly don't write very much and it's pretty sporadic at that. I'm more of a beta, honestly as weird as it sounds to say I like even the editing part of that hahaha). It occurs to me though, that I wasn't sure if there was a site where everyone posted their stories to this? Or is it that no one posts their stories on anything until it's complete, and then it can be wherever? (I have a black hole in my fictionpress and fanfiction world in November because everyone's doing NaNo haha)

    1. There are websites out there where you can submit your work for peer review, get feedback, and then edit and resubmit. It's like having a virtual writing group. I am too chickensh*t to actually DO that, so I just write my turdtastic NaNos every year and they live in a folder on my laptop. C'est la vie. :)

      There's something about charging through the creative process, even when it's hard and it sucks and you hate yourself, that makes it meaningful and worthwhile. I have to remind myself that "this is just the sewage-like first draft, this is just the first draft, this is just the essence of the story, this isn't going to be perfect," over and over and over. I think that's part of why I like it, actually: So much of "real life" means getting things right the first time. NaNo is more about "not right, just write" which is very liberating. How often, after all, are you allowed to do something just for the sake of doing it?

  2. I"m so desperate that I'm writing a Western. What?! I mentioned in one of my reivews that I wished there were more stories about women heading west, so I guess I should try and add to that. Crazy! NaNo I don't know if I can succeed this year!

    1. Anything goes, right? Every year I think I'm going to try something new, but every year I break out the same general fantasy with a female protagonist (not that there's anything wrong with that).