Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Day Before Turkey and Pumpkin Pie

It's Wednesday and all I have on my plate, so to speak, for today is to bake two pumpkin pies, clear my crafts off the dining room table so we can eat there tomorrow, and continue writing my novel.

I have ~14k words to go and we're counting down with 5 more days -- yikes! Today, NaNoWriMo winners around the globe are uploading their novels into the work counter and sporting lovely "winner" icon/bars on their profiles. But not me. Not yet.

I'm a little worried.

This morning, I'd received a pep talk email from NaNoWriMo, and I particularly enjoyed it. It's by an author named Robin McKinley, and part of it went like this:

I have always been a write-each-draft-straight-through-and-don’t-look-back storyteller; it’s the way I develop a feel for the pacing, for where the high and low, careening and meditative, places of each story are—and how I discover where and how it's going to end. Consistency and clarity (and spelling) begin to emerge in the second draft; there are a lot of complete re-rewrites and outtakes during the second draft, and probably the most-per-page screams of frustration: the first draft has told me that the story is there but now I have to make it work on the page. The third draft should mainly be giving the story a really good brushing and plaiting its mane and tail—but there are hazards even here (ask anyone who has ever plaited a mane or a tail), nor is it likely to stand quietly for this operation.

It cheered me, because right now my novel is definitely a first draft as she describes, and though I try not to go back and re-read too much when I'm writing in November, when I do it's...kind of scary. It's distracting to begin to wonder and plan for the next step when you're supposed to just be getting it down on paper.

So, this has helped me and, I hope, anyone else who's still needing to come up with, ahem, just under 30% of their novel in the next 5 days.

If my fingers are falling off from noveling and I don't pop in later, I wish you all, dear friends, a lovely and delicious Thanksgiving!

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