I’m halfway home, surviving my first novel.
It’s nothing like I thought it would be. No wonder I can’t remember anything about the last time I tried it, which must have been almost ten years ago. It’s a blank altogether.
I signed up because I needed to reestablish my habit of production. NaNoWriMo goes for about 2000 a day, and I figured that’s about what I should be producing. Granted they say no editing. But I almost never edit, except in my head. So it seemed like a good way to establish the pattern I needed.
But a novel? That had never entered my imagination. I did know what behaviors my characters would engage in. And I knew that I had seen enough of such behaviors I should have no problem describing them. But novels have stories. Did I have a story to tell. I’m a teacher. For years and years I’ve lectured with stories. My students could always know I would go in a giant circle, exploring each event along the way, and then just as I ran out of time, and sometimes broke into a New York accent that could go nearly as fast as my French, everything would come together, and the moral was clear.
But I’d never considered actually writing a novel. Too much of a production. I think in lectures, not productions. Well, there was that one I started several years ago. I was murdered. And all the faculty in my department were suspects. It was great fun. Lived in a three-ring binder on top of my roll-top desk. I wonder what ever happened to it. Could I have worked on it in NaNoWriMo all those years ago. Nah, I would have remembered it then. Of course, I wrote Letters to My Daughter, to0. Don’t see that up there, either. But I think I must have stopped that when she spent her junior year in Florence. I certainly didn’t use those letters for NaNoWriMo. No, they were real letters, not a novel.
I decided to do this in mid October. So I checked the site to see if I should prepare anything. Read 5 books on novel writing. But we weren’t supposed to start until Nov. 1. But they asked for a Novel title. A Title? How about a modern version of Aucassin and Nicolette. Was it like movies? Could you do a remake? Would that be like a redo? Maybe not. They asked for an excerpt. Now, really. How could I do an excerpt from a novel I hadn’t even thought up yet?
Then they had a forum on dares. Dares? They dared us to make one of our characters a werewolf. Hello! A werewolf. Well, actually, just a few weeks later, I discovered that Terrence, one of my characters really did look like a werewolf . So I made him one. So now I had a werewolf from the 21st century and a story that took place in the Middle Ages. Great. Then, on November 1st I started to write. I had to get the werewolf to the 12th century, and when one of my other characters tried to get him out of trouble by putting a spell on him, they all ended up being zapped into the 12th century into a tavern whose bartender was human, but that served mostly fairies.
Now I just know this is gonna be a great novel, cause I can’t wait to read the next chapter. Excuse me, I gotta go write.
Oh, the government, I forgot. Well, I’m 76 and the Republicans are going to destroy Social Security and Medicare, so I hope you’ll buy my novel when I discover that I can’t eat or get well anymore. Yeah, I thought it was only a Ponzi scheme when the people paying in now will have theirs paid by the people who pay in when they’re old. I worked until I was 70 and paid all that time. But now Ryan says we can’t afford it because George Bush spent all our money proving to his Daddy that Saddam Hussein was a bad man. I think he said “evil.” Well, if he was as wrong as he was about the WMD’s I think I might write a novel about him next. Only fair, you gotta admit.
connect in peace,
Jennie the Red Jay