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August 08, 2022

Novel Writing in a Month: Pep Talks You Can Believe In

By Piker Staff

Sand Pilarski writes:

Gloria watched the head cook sneer at the block of scrapple her employers had asked her to prepare according to a recipe in the snotty magazine "Better Homes and Gardens Than Yours". If I have to watch this cook make one more damned meal, ingredient by ingredient, I'm going to pick up the carving knife and end this story by killing her all over the kitchen, she thought. I've just about had enough of bad cooking and no action.

This is it, the last week of NaNoWriMo, the amazing, stress-filled, nutso challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. National Novel Writing Month, the brainchild of Chris Baty, provokes, batters, and intrigues tens of thousands of writers around the world, making them hammer out words without rhyme or reason, plot or point.

This last week, many of us hate our stories. Our characters hate the story they've been written into. Their antagonists in the stories have made alliances with the protagonists because they hate the story so bad. Agents and publishers internationally hate the novels before they ever see them, because everyone knows that YOU CANNOT WRITE A REAL NOVEL IN THIRTY DAYS!!!

Whew! See what that Inner Editor can come up with? That's why, especially during this final week of frenzied writing, the Inner Editor must be stuffed into the laundry hamper with a sock in its mouth. There is no time for listening to such claptrap. All that counts is getting those words down; three paragraphs of angst-filled thoughts can make two hundred words, just do that five more times and you have another thousand, go ahead, shift that point of view, it's not something that matters until the final editing process, and that might be when hell freezes over, but who cares, the words have to just keep piling up ...

Go on, NaNovelists! Hammer out those words like you were trying to shake the crumbs out of your keyboard. Later on, maybe next spring, you can meet with your characters and talk about what you did to them in November.

Who knows? They might even forgive you.

Cheryl Haimann writes:

He was a machine, responding to each of her tentative touches instantly, until she grew more confident. Soon her halting clumsiness melted away, and together they found their rhythm, coordinating every action until it became one fluid motion. Sometimes fast and driving... sometimes slowly and thoughtful... and finally one urgent rush, building and building until she cried out, "That's it. Yes! YES!! I got to 1667 words!" and then collapsed back in her chair with a sigh and a smile.

The basics of romance are pretty simple. Boy meets girl. Sometimes they get along, sometimes they don't. If they spend enough time together, they come to a point where they know they have to be together, even if the obstacles are great. Sometimes boy loses girl. Then they overcome the obstacles, boy gets girl, and presumably they will live happily ever after.

So it is with NaNoWriMo. In week one, everyone in your story starts getting acquainted. In week two, some of the warts are becoming visible, and your great idea may be a little more work than you had anticipated. At the midpoint, you need to know if you are going to pursue this nascent work of fiction, or abandon it and move on to other pursuits. It you stick with your novel through its challenging times, you will not avoid the obstacles, but the rewards will become sweeter. And finally, with persistence and dedication, you will, during week four, achieve your goal: a finished novel.

Of course, we live in Real Life, not Romance Novel Life. Half of marriages fail, and probably at least that many finished NaNovels are orphaned as soon as the author types "The End." That's okay. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, and sometimes you have to write a lot of words before they come together in a way that pleases you. The great thing is that the words don't get their feelings hurt if you dump them.

But also as in Real Life, isn't it worth taking the chance?

Yes! Yes! Oh, yes!

Lydia Manx writes:

Molly growled at the human. How dare she pretend to be a vampire? Fake fangs? Who the hell was she kidding? And she didn't even bite correctly. The humans thought just because they had the technology, they deserved the rewards. Ha, well she'd show them. She'd write a story and spill all the secrets of vampires. Call it fiction and watch the mayhem ensue.

Yep, that's what I call the intro to a pep talk! Cut to the chase, include teasers and don't deliver. Basically old fashioned high school dating. I dare say old school because I haven't been in high school in a while and fear the rules have shifted with 'hook ups' and 'group dates'. Neither of which I have any desire to go through as a fifteen or sixteen year-old teenager in Southern California with or without a charge card and designer wardrobe. That said I enjoy writing every year with a bunch of like-minded folks around the world.

Writing is a jealous mistress. She'll eat all of your time and most of your mind. NaNoWriMo gives me the focus to commit to a single story week after week and work to find her end. I don't know how your preparations go or what feeds your writing, be it Pringles, Belgium chocolates, Starbucks coffee or small fluffy Peeps, but I think it's important to savor the fun of knowing you aren't the only insane writer in the world.

Article © Piker Staff. All rights reserved.
Published on 2008-11-24
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