NaNoFeed: the awful noise of the rubber hitting the road

Day 21, and it’s not fun anymore.

Which is the sad fact of life as a writer: there are times that it’s not fun, and the solutions are various. Sometimes it’s enough to walk away for a bit (not currently an option as I’m at a write-in, although writing a blog post might count); sometimes slogging through will do it. Sometimes banging the head on the wall actually makes the wall give way.

That is, if you make a particularly judicious choice of wall and head-butting technique. You have to hit it just right.

At times like this I comfort myself with the documented complaints of my glorious forebears: Tolstoy writing that Anna Karenina was a horrible piece of hackwork and if he didn’t have a contract to complete the serial, he’d ditch it right then and there; Virginia Woolf spending the morning getting the characters of To the Lighthouse from one room to the next.

I’ve reread both novels and I can’t locate the stickiness the authors were bemoaning.

The quality of the prose is strictly independent of your feelings about it. The stuff you bang out in a blaze of glory may be the worst crap you ever wrote, and the stuff that you squeeze out one dollop at a time like siphoning cement may be felicitous and lightsome.

Or vice versa.

Re-reading is deadly, too–did I mention that? For NaNo 2009, I made myself two inspirational signs: one said Don’t look back; the axe murderer is gaining on you. The other said, Remember what happened to Lot’s wife.

I like a touch of menace with my inspiration.

Anyway, I am married to this novel now, and we are getting bored with each other. The sad part is that the best is yet to come. The stew of family dysfunction is gently simmering on the stove, and just now, Kirsten, Elsa and Henry are trading complaints about their chronically unfaithful father, and planning to ambush him over dinner.

OK, just verbally. No edged weapons. That’s for later, and a rather different party.

Elsa’s life is shortly to be complicated by the little barbarian, who has a crush on  her; the dead friend who’s said that she’ll rest easy in her grave when she’s been avenged; the lurking (or sulking) serial killer; and the upcoming fight scene in a bog. (For this year’s NaNo cook pot, I set myself the challenge of over-the-top fight choreography, and this is a doozy. Single combat on ground that behaves like a grassy trampoline and might give way into a sinkhole at any moment is a tricky proposition.)

So I’ve got all this good stuff to look forward to, and I’m whining about it just like Leo and Virginia. Writers really are perverse beasts.


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2 Responses to NaNoFeed: the awful noise of the rubber hitting the road

  1. I finished the 50K with some serious sticking points, but the book is nowhere near done. Why didn’t I see that coming?

    • epbeaumont says:

      As a person who can’t seem to have an idea that costs less than 60 hours of work, I hear you. I just popped up above 60K and saw the NaNo graph add the next bar… 80K. The bear went over the mountain, etc.

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