Monday, 7 November 2011

I've got blisters on my fingers

As far as I know, Hemingway didn't slice open the tip of his index finger one day into writing For Whom the Bell Tolls. Tolkien was not pleasantly distracted from his tales of Middle Earth by the people next door inviting him over for a beer or two. And Terry Pratchett, as far as I can reasonably tell, doesn't have to write about mortgages between the hours of nine and five to keep the (non-literal) wolf from the door.

With that in mind, to find myself 20,000 words in after six whole days of NaNoWriMo is quite remarkable.I'm ahead by about 10,000, which you think would give me some sense of smug satisfaction. It's a breeze, this writing malarkey, isn't it? Don't know what the fuss was about.

Repeat after me: don't you believe it.

This has been quite tough. Tough to set the time aside. Tough to motivate myself to sit in front of a screen and conjure up the words. Tough to make it through some of the scenes I've been writing. Which doesn't bode well for the finished article, does it?

The hardest part for me so far has been the whole concept of the dash to the finish line. Although you wouldn't know it to read this, I tend to like to go back and edit things. I can worry about a sentence until a well-known cliche takes place. (The original version of that last bit had cows coming home. See what I mean?)

But with NaNoWriMo the main intention is to get your story told, and get it done with a minimum of 50,000 words in the month. You don't 'win' by having 8,000 wonderfully crafted words. Mind you, it would be a failure if I provided the requisite 50,000 words but hadn't finished the story. You can't have a beginning, middle and fade to chorus. There does need to be an ending - I can't just write "And they all lived happily ever after" once I get to 49,993. Especially if we happen to be in the middle of a fight scene at the time.

So it really is a case of 'don't edit, just create'. Occasionally I'll look back at something I've written and a flush of embarrassment comes over me. Surely I can just spend a few minutes polishing that terrible bit of dialogue? No. For that way lies madness. Well, until 1 December, anyway.

In sponsorship terms, things are going well. I'm up to £200 at the moment, which, at 40% of my target, matches the word count quite well. One triumph this morning; national journalist Stuart Heritage wrote a very funny (and only slightly cruel) piece about NaNoWriMo on his LuvHat blog. If you're not too precious about the whole endeavour, it's great. If you are precious about it, well, don't read it. I contacted him on Twitter about it, to make the point that there's at least one crappy novel being produced for a good cause. Credit to him, not only did he respond, he also put his hand in his pocket and donated, then tweeted the JustGiving link to his 10,000 followers.

You might be even be one of them. Hello. Please excuse me, I need to go and write 30,000 words with only nine fully-functioning digits.

1 comment:

City Girl said...

Legend has it Tolstoy pecked out War and Peace on a Commodore 64 using only two fingers and his left thumb.

This, of course, is ridiculous. Surely he used an IBM Selectric.

(Which is to say: We're damn proud of you, Fabs. xoxo)

CG1 & CG2

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