Today is the first of December and I'm exhausted and I haven't even begun the Christmas stuff yet, but I have completed the required 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I had no plans to do nano this year. Last year I planned it and researched for a few weeks while resisting the urge to write. On the first of November I was off like a shot and life interfered and I ended the month 20,000 words better off, which I was pleased with because without the spur of nano I might not have managed 5000.
So this year I wasn't going to try because I knew my schedule was full to say the least, but on the first I couldn't resist the call. All l I had was the title...The Summer of the Black Hare, which came about from the appearance of a jet black hare on our lawn on glorious evening this past summer.
With a hare to chase I set off accepting that I wouldn't cross the finish line, but that I would have exercised my writing muscle which had a bl**dy big cramp in it from close revisions....you know the sort - just how many times have you used the word just and so on. So from microscopic inspection to glorious freedom - I set off.
I knew I wanted to really stretch. I knew in the back of my mind that August Rock needs to be written in first person (of which I have little experience just Explosive Dreams see link if brave) so I decided that The Summer of the Black Hare would be written in first person and set in Cornwall (but as it return out it only began there before doing some serious globe trotting). Thus I began on an adventure or as one blogger described it - draft zero. No pressure, no plot, no idea.
It has been fabulous, furious and fun. I have learned so much.
1. I can write in the first person and it challenged my mind to tell a story from one person's eyes only
2. I have a great imagination - believe me this is a wild tale
3. Especially after yesterday's rush to the end I can write 5000 somewhat coherent words in a very short space of time even though I had no idea where its going
4. When stuck throw in pirates, dead bodies or turbocharged vampires - it gets the plot going no end
5. Sometimes freedom is good for the writing soul
6. Don't be afraid of not knowing and really tossing everything at your character
7. It's important to have sspace to write something wild for no audience in particular- you'll never know what you'll discover
8. I didn't expect that this would be out of my 'genre' but it is and the sense of freedom in writing in arena that I don't read (but do watch - tv and films) was so refreshing that I think it will bring new pace to my other work...
So the work stands at 50,002 words - what now? Well the story is definitely not finished. My 'normal' first drafts usually landed at 80,000 to 90.000 lean words. I would say this is even leaner - I mean why write speech tags or connections between scenes or even paragraphs or even scenes that you know must exist but you haven't thought of them yet when the rush is on....I think it will take me another 20,000 words to come to THE END when I discover what that is. So this December in the midst of Christmas letters, cooking, shopping, wrapping, and of course travelling I will write those 20,000 and be ready to begin in January refreshed and having learnt a new a new skill (no, not bull sh*ting but first person).
The Summer of the Balck Hare will never see the light of day - at least not as it stands, but that wasn't the point for me. The reason for NaNoWriMo was to recapture the joy of story telling. I already knew I could write a complete novel or six but I had lost sight of the joy that writing brings when it is set free. I think many other writers find their release in short stories, but it is a skill I have never mastered. In short stories many writers can spread their writing wings, which I think we all need to do - and I guess this applies in all creative fields. If you don't use and push the creative muscles they can atrophy. In the past writers weren't straight jacketed into a category they could write where their imagination took them and the their readers followed, but times are not the same...so I'm already looking forward to next years NaNoWriMo. Are you?