I managed to complete Na(tional) No(vel) Wri(ting) Mo(nth) with 30,000 words of a maybe-nascent book. Which leaves the question: what next? On to another 30K of muscular prose? Shall we allow ourselves to be carried forward by a swell of narrative that, while imperfect and in need of major surgery, blows harder than the winds of entropy?
I reached my goal of 30,000 words on the new book one day early. Now on to the question of what to do with December. I think I might just try to maintain the pace and slam down another 30K words before the change of the year.
I'm aware that what I'm writing is going to need serious edits - by this I mean major surgery - before it's in a form reputable enough to qualify as "book." But the breakneck pace has served to keep the plot cooking along, so I see no reason to abandon it yet.
I forgot to tell you I was doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I forgot to tell you because I didn't know it myself until November 1. That morning, I was envying several friends from Clarion West who were attempting Herculean writing tasks that month (a 50,000-word start to a novel, or a complete short story every week day). On the spur of the moment, I decided to commit to starting a book.
I have a book project I've been researching for two years now, so naturally I bypassed that idea and set my mind on an entirely new premise, which I hatched as I drove to work at 4:30 in the morning. By the time I started writing, it was 24 hours later and I was already a day in the hole. I set a modified goal of 30K words - still a substantial start to a book - so technically it's NaNoStaMo for me.
On about 70% of my writing days (work days are always "0 word days" and I limit the writing I do on weekends so I'll still be married on November 30), I wake up convinced that this is a terrible idea and I am incapable of doing this. But I'm 4,400 words from my goal, and know what? It's pretty good. Just raw material, but there's some fun stuff happening and I think there are some people out there who might really enjoy it.
So, I'm alive. Back with more soon.
Many songs contain a narrative, like a piece of flash fiction set to music. Lola was a showgirl at the Copacabana. She and the bartender, Tony, were in love. But one day, a new dude came into the club, and when he went a little too far, Tony came across the bar at him. Shots rang out. Years later, she's still hanging out at the club, but drinking herself blind, washed up and still mourning Tony. Copacabana is a much-mocked bit of disco frippery, but it's actually a frightfully depressing story when you pay attention.
That's how most stories unfold: a thing happens, and that leads to another thing happening, and just when you think this final thing will happen, another - more elegant - thing happens, and it completes a pathway that in retrospect feels perfect for the characters you've discovered through the passage of actions. [Note: this is a terribly way to describe the basic characteristics of a story, but I'm not going back.]
At Clarion West, it became sort of a joke to describe something as "not a story," because some of the best stories in speculative fiction are not, by any classical description, stories. For just one example, read the devastating If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky.
OK, all of this is to ask you to listen to this song in its entirety. It constructs a narrative out of the addition of more harmonic voices, which also function as a metaphor for people finding common ground. It's not a classic narrative, but it develops an idea in a logical fashion, and the last verse pays off the earlier ones so beautifully that it "reads" as well as any literary piece. I don't say this often, but I think this song is a legit work of genius. I wish I could write a story in which the ending so perfectly resolves the ideas sown in the beginning.