Here at my writing desk, I feel like I’m still on track, and I’m also getting a little anxious about meeting the goal of 50,000 words by next Tuesday. (Hello? That’s next Tuesday!) In all truth, there’s also part of me that is starting to daydream about not having this NaNo “thing” hanging over my head in less than a week.
When I obsessively check my word count total (currently at 33,925) I feel pretty darn good. That is a lot of words to have written. Then, when I look at words to still write (18,981), I feel a wee bit nervous. When the nerves hit, I try to remind myself of the many, many college papers I wrote and turned in on very little sleep, when I wasn’t even a coffee drinker, and that makes me feel a bit better.
As for the NaNo process, a new character (a boy named Terry) showed up in the novel today. Literally, showed up. He was just there – well, he arrived in my mind yesterday but he got on the page today. He’s not going to have a lot of time to interact with the protagonist, but he’s going to help her a lot. Three cheers for Terry! (Okay, I’m losing it a little…sorry.)
Anyway, Terry makes me think about a lecture I heard Kazuo Ishiguro give many years ago. During his talk, he gently mocked American writers for talking about how “the book takes me where it needs to go,” or how authors refer to stories and characters writing themselves. For the Brit in Mr. Ishiguro, the idea of the writer not being in control of the writing was pure rubbish. At the time I could see what he meant. Really, a story writing itself? Give me a break.
But now, I’m starting to understand what these writers mean when they talk about the story taking over. This NaNo story of mine is evolving and gets better, I think, when I let it grow and take shape on its own. That’s not to say I don’t have some type of plan — I need that or else I’d be in trouble. But I do think that these characters, the plot, the setting evolve in ways that I don’t really control. Hmm. Maybe that’s creativity at work?
Okay, enough self reflection. It’s late. I’m sounding stuffy (and I don’t mean my cold). Good night and Happy Thanksgiving!