Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo: An Exercise in Beginnings

Okay, so the Office of Letters and Light doesn't have a countdown clock for the rest of National Novel Writing Month. At least, not on the index page of the website. That's good because NaNo isn't about deadlines, in my opinion (like you're here for somebody else's?).

I hate guilt. Not finishing a goal induces it. So, NaNo can be a guilt-inducing exercise. Therefore, I think of NaNo as something else. It is an invitation to wander. Which I did. Not by 50K words, but by 10K, and, by God, I'm happy with the outcome. I'm 1/3 into a novella, if in fact I end up writing a novella. I'm definitely on the road to a prequel. Did I have more than a chapter written before the month started? Heck no. I have now a solid beginning, and I feel fine (because it's not the end of the world as we know it). I'm excited, not wallowing in pity that I won't have a full novel done by midnight on Wednesday.

Writing novels is hard enough to let myself go THERE -- the dark side -- the side every writer knows so intimately s/he begin to look like that nasty little ring keeper in the LOTR series (sorry, don't know the name of that character, although Gollum sounds familiar).

For anyone who finishes 50K this week, it's just the beginning. The novel will take on a new shape every time the writer sits down to tweak it. Again and again and again. It may sit for weeks, months, until it is fine and all the details are worked out in the mind and then on the paper. What you have now, you winners of NaNo, is piece of clay. Now the pounding begins.

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