Thursday, November 19, 2009

An update on my novel

Well, it's day 19 and I am still plugging away on my NaNoWriMo novel. I caught up from last week's busyness. Then I got behind again and then I caught up again.These last couple days I've been able to stay on track and am even edging slightly ahead. For now at least, I'm out of that hating-my-own novel feeling I was struggling with when last I posted. Yesterday, I passed the 30,000 words count! I'm kind of blowing my own mind--it's almost hard to believe I produced that much in only 18 days. It's neat to see what you can achieve when you really put your mind to it. Passing the halfway mark was so gratifying, I've really felt good ever since. If you compare it to riding a bike, putting out the first 25,000 words was like going up a hill. Now I am going down that hill and it's almost like coasting.

When you start a 50,000 word novel on the fly, you worry about whether or not you'll be able to fill all those pages. I didn't want to burn through my preplanned ideas too fast, so I spent a lot of time setting up the story, creating characters, giving the characters and the town they lived in histories. I created a couple subplots. My biggest problem now is wrapping everything up by 50,000 words. I want to let it be organic, so I have not decided either way, but I think the original plot I conceived of will have to be finished in a sequel novel. In addition to that, I already have an idea for a third novel, another sequel. It's kind of absurd really. I'm certainly not going to deliberately stretch the plots out to fill another book or two, but I am also not going to rush all of them and force them to end before they're fully developed.

I'm starting to get straight up weary of all this writing. This morning on the bus, I pulled out my laptop to start typing for the day, just like I did the last 18 mornings. I knew what to write next and I managed to write 300 words on the way to work, but it was really tiring. I just wanted to get out my book (Two Weeks In the Midday Sun about the Cannes Film Festival, by Roger Ebert) and read, skipping all that mental exertion.

Meanwhile, my parents came up to visit this last Saturday and we spent a nice day together. My dad helped me start weatherizing the house and I've been continuing that work. It makes me feel clever saving money on heating costs, figuring out all the ways to keep in the heat and keep out the cold.

I've also got to start on the 2009 Year In Review Zine. I need to get this one done in time to send out with Christmas cards, which means I need to start writing it concurrently with my novel. I have some ideas of how I want to write it, but I've been procrastinating on that front.

I've realized these last couple years that keeping yourself busy, doing projects that are personally gratifying, is great for the soul.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNo Update and Fires Down the Street

I thought I'd take a moment to give you an update on my NaNoWriMo book. I'm still plugging away but the thing is getting more and more difficult. When I started, I thought to myself, 'This thing is pretty good!' A few days later the honeymoon was over. It's not easy coming up with all the plot details on the fly and even worse not being able to revise them or spend too much time thinking about them. The ultimate goal for this challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of November 30th. That means you must maintain an average of 1,6667 words a day. This isn't so bad, until you actually have a busy day, or are really not enjoying the part of the book you are writing. By Friday November 6th, I had actually streaked a full day ahead on my word count. On the weekend, I squandered it all and ended up just breaking even. I stayed even on my word count until last night when I decided to throw caution to the wind and go over to a friend's house for Poker Night instead of finishing my daily dose of storytelling. I hope I can catch up easily but I'm planning to take a couple days off in the near future if it comes to that. Part of me has been wanting to quit the challenge, since I'm not even enjoying the story lately, it's really hard to keep up with, and the finish line is so far off. But really, I hate quitting. There's no way I am going to give up on this, barring some sort of disaster.

Speaking of disasters, yesterday at Guapo Allie noticed a constant stream of fire-trucks zooming up the street. Then she noticed a large plume of smoke coming from the direction of our house. 'Is that by our house?' she fantasized. 'It couldn't be.' Well it turns out it was the school just four houses down from where we live. The Marysville K-8 Elementary burnt to the ground last night just 70 yards or so from our house. No one was seriously hurt, which is the most important thing, but it was still so sad. All summer and early fall they were remodeling the playground. They tore out all the asphalt, put in new jungle gyms, a covered basketball court, and more. The school seemed so much more shiny and new. Now it's just a shell (but I believe the new playground came out fine). This morning there were still news vans parked in front of our house and the end of our street is still blocked off. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Here's a video of the school burning--it only shows one corner of the fire, the full thing was much larger.

Here's a link to a news article, with more videos.