Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back at NaNoWriMo

Finally. My major deadlines are past. Class Day (our homeschool co-op classes) does not meet again until mid-December, so I don't have grading to do until December. The Arrow and The Boomerang for Brave Writer are not due until November 28, and as we're taking the whole week off before Thanksgiving, I'll have time to work on them then. (NOTE TO SELF: Order books from library now!) My winter Brave Writer classes don't start until February 1, and they are both classes I have taught in the past, so I won't have to be writing massive posts; they're all done and stored away, ready to post whenever I need them. I'm teaching One Thing: Poetry in February and One Thing: Grammar in March, both of which are lots of fun and great learning experiences for younger as well as older kids. But right now, Brave Writer does not have to be a priority. I love working for Julie, but I am welcoming the break right now.

So for the rest of the month, I have two main projects to work on: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and reading A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens for Logos, our church's monthly literary discussion group. Besides homeschooling our kids, that's it. E has submitted her college applications already, and we can't work on financial aid until January, although I am going to have her start hunting and applying for scholarships.

Today I did the math and figured out that I need to write 2500 words per day in order to finish NaNoWriMo by the end of the month. I am determined to do it, even if right now everything I write seems like utterly useless crap. But I will push forward, hoping to get the story moving in one way or another. I added a traumatic event to my poor character's life, but I'm not certain how it's going to reveal her change of heart, or how it's going to push her into further change. I keep flirting with the idea of introducing a romance into her solitary life, but it sounds so ... trite. I think I want her to develop who she is with God's help, not a man's. She's too much of a loner to make a romance work well, too awkward around people, to not self-assured. So I'm pondering where the story is going. I have lots of choices to make, and SOON.

I am quite sure that I am not going to attempt to publish this novel. I'm looking at it as exercise for my writing muscles -- a way of strengthening my writing, forcing myself to be creative in new ways that can help my non-fiction and poetry writing. There is too much wrong with this novel to ever make it work; it's basically a fictional account of the non-fiction book I've been researching, the one that developed from speaking at retreat five years ago. I haven't had much time for researching it more fully, but perhaps writing this novel and putting a face and a person to the changes I suggest may make the non-fiction book be more than a dry, scholarly treatise in which I would be "preaching to the choir" (literally as well as metaphysically).

So that's where I am, back working on my NaNoWriMo novel. I reached 14,000 words earlier today (28% of the way to my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month) and want to write another thousand words before I go to bed tonight. We'll see how it goes. I'm just excited to "feel like" a writer for a month each year; it's exhilarating to push myself through the story, seeing life through my character's eyes and setting up areas in which she can grow and change as a follower of Christ and as a literature professor. Nah, she's nothing like me, is she? [Wink, wink]

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