Taking stock after the big bada-booom
BY: E.D. Vaughn
As November ends, so does a month of great struggle. I had hoped to sleep through the month, but alas I thought better of it. Well, technically the furry alarm clock that wanted breakfast wouldn’t allow it.
For writers, November isn’t the turkey induced, football toting, shove the person next to you sales blitz month but NaNo. When someone first asked me if I was doing it, my answer was along the lines of… “WTF is a NaNoWriMo?” Figuring it was some miss spelled… thing, like a flesh eating virus. Yes, I was (and still am in many ways) a fairly clueless writer. I have to admit that a flesh eating virus may have been easier to deal with at times.
I soon learned the last few years the importance, i.e. torture, of it.
My first attempt at the National Novel Writing Month was last year. I plotted, outlined, and had been set, even excited, to crank out a novel… in a month. How insane are we?
Then, as fate would have it, my life blew up around me a week into it. Not literally with explosions, but close enough. Ok, the fireworks would have been fun to see, but not the point. One hurdle after another put a stop to finishing that novel idea and almost caput-dead my lofty idea of being a writer.
A year later and I’m still dealing with lingering affects from then. Funny how some things never seem to go away. But I needed something else to keep my mind occupied since I hate dwelling on the negative.
Ironically, the story I had plotted came true in real life with way more twist and turns then I even dreamed up. That right there was a very scary realization when I pulled the project up six weeks ago to give it another go.
Normally I try to find the silver lining in everything that happens. So, how could I turn all this craziness into a good thing? By going with it! I was determined to get through NaNo this time, to push past the demons still lingering and say hello to the ghosts. Maybe glutton for punishment and somewhat morbid, but I felt compelled to complete the very issue that rocked my world (in a not so good way).
Maybe the stubborn part of my blood finally kicked in, I don’t know. When every branch of the family tree leaks resolute and defiance like sap of one of those sticky pine trees, eventually you go along with it. I had to prove to myself that I could write a full novel again; it had been almost two years.
So, I traveled down the slippery slope with narrowed focus, somewhat cocky knowing the story inside out. I lived it and survived, so how hard could it be? Famous last words. Only when I finally opened my eyes and stretched my fingers into the story did I throw myself a curveball. Only something I could do, surprise myself as I write the story.
I complained to Ari (who didn’t exist until the moment my fingers typed the cell conversation some twenty thousand words in) that he wasn’t a main character and tried to shove him into the background. ~ Yes, I have arguments with characters, you don’t? ~ Ten lines of a conversation did not equal taking over! Or so I naively thought. His relentless ways won out. Another twenty thousand words later I finally relented (see, I can dig my heals in too).
I debated though for a bit if I should finish the novel how I originally saw it, or go with this new direction. A part of me felt badly for abandoning the original storyline I’d had for a year. I thought I was happy with it. Taking a chance, and a big gamble being forty thousand words into a novel, and changed directions. Everything fell into place, which ironically smoothed unanswerable questions present in the storyline that I hadn’t really planned to answer unless needed. Am still in a bit of shock actually!
Stories evolve and change, even in a short month of mad writing. I’ve learned to go with it, although I put up a fight. With Viking blood, it’s hard not too! Sometimes those odd thoughts (or added ten lines of conversation) end up changing everything.
Every story is different and that’s the joy. There’s no wrong or right, a story just is. Even I shock myself sometimes.
Coming to the end of this glorious, stressful, seeming normal on the outside, month of November, I look back in awe. I’m not sure how I actually wrote seventy-five thousand words in twenty-some days but I did. AND I live to tell about it.
I think. ((does mental check and pats body)) Yep.
Picking myself up from a really good sleep, the day after had been strange. I almost felt as though I was in a fog, though the actual fog and rain outside didn’t help. The last four weeks had such focus that the coming month seems odd without one.
Random thoughts, like, I should probably take the Hobbit out for a good hike since he may not remember what his harness looks like, ran through my mind. And I will do this one and hopefully more.
Remembering I had this blog to write, I struggled with… what exactly to focus on. I can babble with the best of them, but I generally like having some kind of direction. Usually. We’re between Thanksgiving and the coming mass of holidays at the end of the year, and with this in mind, my brain tried to find my next focus coming off the high of NaNo. -Seemed close in comparison.
I have a few projects due in the coming year, but those are already done. Wait, what? Yep, besides a round of editing my coming story for The Bowman’s Inn Anthology (Winter) is already done. Prepping for NaNo meant I finished off ideas before it started, which now is leaving me stumbling with what to do next.
Shameless plug: If you haven’t already picked up a copy of The Bowman’s Inn anthology, what are you waiting for? Stop reading this, click another tab, get onto Amazon, and buy them!! There are three volumes but Winter is coming February 2016! You will not regret it. Early -Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever else is coming up- treat for yourself. I’ll wait…
Some of you might be in the same boat. Some not. But plan something!! Heck, we’re writers, we can make stuff up as we go.
If anyone didn’t quite finish the novel during the 30 days in November, then finish it this month! I promise I won’t tell. Though your eyes might need a break at some point, so go outside and throw a snowball or ride around and look at the lights. Cook an actual meal instead of microwaving something. Give yourself a mental break, something fun and distracting, and maybe a full night’s sleep. I know, I’m still scratching my head over the last part.
Afterwards, come back and set some goals. Carry this momentum forward into the next project. Have some fun though but keep writing.
Head into the New Year with a bang! ((A barrage of gun fire goes off and I hit the ground)) Oh, it’s just the gun range down the road -all’s good. Rather odd, somewhat funny, timing, but worked perfectly. Sort of. Yes, this actually happened while writing this! Joys of living around an Army base. Ignore me while I try to get my heart rate back to normal and find the scaredy-corgi-cat who ran upstairs to hide. I think the hike just got postponed.
Now get out there and write something!!