By Steve Weddle
Today is the first day of November, which means it is the day I stop what I am doing and focus on one thing: Oh, crap, the mortgage is due.
My lovely bride, who used to be a Catholic, reminds that it's also All Saints Day.
And, if you're that chick from Square Pegs, it's the day you say "rabbit, rabbit" first thing for luck.
But if you're coming here and you're not one of those booger-licking, Saban-loving, rectum-smelling blog spammers, then you're probably already aware -- it's the kick-off to NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
How cool is that? 50k in 30 days -- not quite 2k per day, but it's pretty close. Could you do the needed 1,667 words per day? Heck, I've done three times that in a day. One day. The next I probably didn't get any writing done. Maybe I caught up on the laundry. Maybe it was a double-header on the soccer pitch. Maybe there was a Project Runway marathon on. Heck if I know.
No one writes 50,000 words in a month, do they? I dunno. Here's how I write. The other day I had a picture banging around in my head. My main character is going to meet someone for a chat. Needs to be some place other players in the book wouldn't pop in. No cops. No attorneys. No tough guys. Gotta be the hippie food place I remember in Shreveport.
--at Earthereal, a dark, tight little place up on the hill, under big oak trees, between the smart kids' high school and the little boutique shops in what used to be the nice part of town.--
OK. Nice use of commas, moron. And at some point, I'll have to clean that idea up. Can't you hear Samuel L. Jackson suggesting that I say "little" one more time, futher mucker? And I'll need to hit the Google maps to see if the layout is how I remember it. Maybe streetview that sucker, too. All for a scene that will probably get cut.
So that's what I got. In a day. If you really want to hear about it, as Holden would say, that's what I got last week. Shut up. I've been busy. I'm not writing on contract. I'm not writing for anyone but me. So, there's no external imperative. Unlike my job. My family. The yard. The dishes. The laundry. There's this Laura Kasischke poem with the line: "This is the way the small survive./ The way the small have always survived." This is the way the small write, isn't it? Fits and spurts. It's how I write, anyway.
But you know what? That's the book's fault. At times, it's tough to keep up. I write and the words just flow, unstoppable, like an over-flowing toilet. Sometimes the scenes flow on into another, the next chapter opens and this one closes. I just type what they're saying, you know? And then sometimes I have characters stuck in one place for a month.
I like the idea of NaNoWriMo. Being forced to write, get the words down. It's perfect. I like that idea the way I like the idea of reading that big nonfiction book on some disease in 14th-century Italy and how it helped shape the way we used modern medicine. Sounds good, but I'll just end up returning this one back to the library. I mean, it's due the first of November so I should get that back soon. Heck, I should have already gotten it back to the library. But I'll get it back in the morning. The second will be fine. Right after I swing by the post office and get some stamps for these bills.
Do YOU NaNoWriMo? Good idea, yeah?