In fact I should be instead writing furiously on my fifth novel as I am grotesquely behind on my word count. Not pathetically, just grotesquely. There is a difference.
Welcome to the Month of Insanity aka “National Novel Writing Month”. Where inspiring authors, dare devils, and glory hounds attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. This is my fifth year participating and so far everything is moving along at its usual patterned pace.
Every year, the first week of NaNo is like sludging through melted taffy. Trying to get the story started without weighing it down with unnecessary details is difficult for me. I have to keep reminding myself that the reader does not need to be privy to EVERYTHING about the character or the place at this very moment in time. Draw it out. Allow a few morsels to drop here and there so your reader can connect the dots. And another thing? PICK UP THE PACE. That is my achilles’ writer’s heel (wrist?) — not moving the story forward quick enough.
Last year’s novel I am very proud of. I ventured into unknown territory by writing a Young Adult Scaery Tale (think a faerie tale without faeries). Within the first chapter, shit was happening and it was exciting. In past novels the adventure would not start until word count 10,000. Not that time. Under the inspiration of Patricia Briggs, I clipped that story right along to where it went from a trot into an impressive gallop. That novel has a special place in my heart for many reasons and it is the one I can see myself revisiting to polish for publication.
My NaNo this year goes back to my supernatural roots when I was twelve years old. Back then I devoured teen horror books of the supernatural and eerie bent, as well as, some Judy Blume coming of age stories. Yes, I was a contradictory child.
Those horror stories ignited my imagination and I learned that for something to be scary it did not have to be gory. Simplicity at its finest is what freaked people out the most. The less they see or know, the more terrifying it is. I also learned the craft of the cliff hanger that wanted the reader to know more, not piss them off. For school I would write these short stories and at slumber parties they would be read by my friends. I had a knack for the Scare.
Many stories and movies are inspiring my 2010 NaNo novel with their style and atmosphere: “Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Sleep Hollow” by Washington Irving / movie by Tim Burton, anything Vincent Price has starred in, “FEED” by Seanan McGuire (proving undoubtably WOMEN can write horror, thank you very much), “The Mist” by Stephen King, and the small town witchyness of “Practical Magic”.
So far I’m over 3,000 words in and I’m working on keeping up the pace.
The word count may not be impressive, but considering I have a job this year which insists on overtime, I’m very happy I’ve been able to squeeze out 600 – 1,000 words an evening before collapsing into bed. But, hey, catching up is what the weekends are for, right? Write?