Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Remedial NANOWRIMO

I've never been so proud of doing so little.

When I signed up for NANOWRIMO this year (in my head--I did not sign up officially for obvious reasons) I only had a vague notion of how things were going to work. I was not going to kill myself in my writing frenzy and lose my mind. I was going to dabble. I was going to write as the inspiration hit and if that meant I wrote a paragraph a day, so be it. I have never been such a slack ass about anything in my life. But surprisingly, it feels delicious. Much like summer vacation once did, where getting out of bed and dressed sometime before lunchtime felt like a major accomplishment.

I've been working on descriptions lately, because I really suck at them. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you focus on a single task. Since I'm only writing descriptions, and don't have dialogue or plot progression issues to worry with, I've amazed myself at what is pouring forth from my head.

A couple of examples:

As his eyes adjusted to the little light let off by the fireplace, he could just make out the shape of Mrs. Whitaker lying in her bed, and the figure of a young woman bending over her. The young woman’s hair was loosely tied in a braid down her back, and several long strands obstructed her face.
John longed to coil one of those strands around his finger just to examine the color more closely. In the glow of the fire, it shone like a new wheat penny, but as she turned at the sound of his footsteps, in the sunlight streaming through the open door, the copper melted into honey.


The young woman brushed the hair out of her eyes and as they connected with his, John felt an odd jolt of energy between them. He had seen that color only once before, the morning he had hiked up Grandfather Mountain and seen the Blue Ridge for the first time. A quilt of green and blue patchworked into one another, stiched by sunlight, then covered by a blanket of mist.


As a writer, you always fear you're a one-trick pony--that you have one voice, and one style, and can't write your way through a different world. Even as I grew sick of it, I always thought my style was that sarcastic self-deprecating voice of the chic lit narrator, but I'm proving to myself that not only is it possible for me to write more serious literary fiction, it's coming across much better. And I'm actually having fun writing for a change.

3 comments:

  1. lovely,and lovingly written.

    the one voice thing is tricky. i'm trying to get around that in my nano novle by writing from a different character's pov, so to speak. my old main chacter had one kind of focus and my new one has a completely different kind. i think i thread through the two, but i find with this one, there's more noticing the natural world around her a little closer to home and doesn't notice the people around her so much, rather than contemplating the stars and worrying about a bully or how he'll affect his friends.

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  2. very nice. it's nice to let go of all those "I must do's" isn't it? I've been doing that more and more lately. Just cancelled a show I was scheduled for this weekend!

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  3. this was lovely, it feels good to let the 'other' side out occassioanlly. yes, after getting very depressed when i used to read about writers writing for hours every day i then realised i had to adapt to my circumstances - ie full time work-at-home mum with no child-care. so i write a splurge here and an inspired piece here, and slowly i can patchwork them together in my novel. its not perfect but at least i'm staying with it. so well done you - you'll be surprised how much you can still get accomplished.

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