So as you all know I have been working on my nanowrimo book for the last 8 days and I am happy to report I just finished my 27,350th word. That means I am over half way done and it is just day 8. I am really proud of my dedication and hard work and can’t wait until it is finished.
That’s the good part…
The bad part is I am not loving my book. I really don’t want anyone in my writing group to read it and haven’t wanted to post new sections because I know it isn’t great. It certainly isn’t nearly as good as last year’s book and I’m not saying that was some kind of masterpiece. Then again it is the first time I have ever written fiction so maybe I am being too hard on myself?
Have any of you guys had this happen when you are writing nanowrimo, where you just become kind of disillusioned with your story? It is a bit hard to sit down and write everyday but I set a goal and I am going to finish. I really think my story will be better as a screenplay because you can more easily show a person talking in another person’s body. That is really hard to do in a novel. It’s too bad Script Frenzy ended last year 😦 I do much better when I have a group challenge and am not just dependent on myself for motivation.
I couldn’t even find a section that I wanted to show you, which is certainly different than last year. This is the best I could come up with. A single and married woman have switched places and find themselves frustrated with living the other’s life instead of their own. This becomes particularly so when the married woman’s back goes out and the single woman has to deal with all the pain. Eventually she goes to the hospital and they give her a shot for the pain. This makes her kind of nutty and she starts spilling the beans about the switch but nobody will believe her:
After about 10 minutes in the hospital Marnie could feel the shot start to kick in. She could move her back and neck but now the problem was she couldn’t think clearly. Everything was muddled and cloudy inside and the world felt like it was spinning. She didn’t know where she was, who’s body she was in or what she was doing.
The nurse came in to check on her and Marnie pulled her aside and said “My friend stole my body and gave me her bad back instead. That wasn’t very nice was it? I feel all lose inside like an eel. How do you feel?”
“Uhhh…no that doesn’t sound nice and I’m doing just fine” said the nurse inching away and chuckling.
“She also gave me her 4 children and took my quiet apartment and especially at Christmas. Why did we have to be switched at Christmas? Isn’t that mean? I could keep the kid (they really were quite cute kids and she felt like she could talk to all of them, deal with them), but I miss my cat. Her name is Pepper. Do you have a cat doctor?” she says with a bit of drool coming out of her mouth.
“I’m not the doctor but do you need me to get him” said the nurse “So you say your friend gave you her four children? Why would she do that?”
“Because I told you silly- she took my body and gave me her children” with that Marnie began to get off of the exam table. “I took her body but it has a bad back. Otherwise I like it just fine and she doesn’t have to go to work but gets to spend time doing something important. “ she says with a slur.
“But I really love her and she’s my best friend. Did you know we have been friends since I was 7 years old. That is longer than I’ve known anyone, oh but my mother. My Mother is dead. Did you know that”
The nurse nods. :That’s too bad. Now please try and relax. That I the only way your back is going to get better is if you relax”
“But what about the children.? They are JT, Julie, Callie and the youngest. Oh yeah Addie. Who is going to take care of them if Becca is in my body . They need their mother”
“I am sure they do. Mrs. Phillips, we need you to relax and take some deep breaths. Everything will work out.”
“That’s what everyone says but then nothing ever does. My whole life I’ve been waiting for things to work out and they don’t. Aside from meeting Becca I have had the worst string of luck. I get a chance at the promotion and I’m in someone’s body. I meet a great guy and I can’t go on the date with him because I’m Becca Phillips not Marnie. I just want to have my body back and I want Becca to have hers. I promise I will support her more and help more with the kids. Please give me my body back” Marnie grabs the nurse’s sleeve and puts her hands together as if to be begging. “Please help me”
The nurse gives up trying to talk to her and looks at me. “Sir, can you take responsibility for Mrs. Phillips and make sure she gets home”
“Of course he can” she says “he’s Santa. He can do whatever he wants. What do you want for Christmas? You should ask him now why you have the chance. Did you know that Rudolph actually has a red nose and flies? I’m tired. I feel like you are made of glue and all clear inside. Am I clear like that?” Marnie interrupts.
“Honestly I want a night off to relax” says the nurse.
“Well, take a step back because you may get what you want. Do you have a best friend? What is her body like? You better make sure you like it because you may end up in it for next Christmas. Is she pretty? Maybe I can swap with that? Becca is very pretty but her back hurts. That’s why I had to get a shot and now I feel funny”
“Is that so?” The nurse looks truly mystified even for someone on a muscle relaxant shot this is unusual. Not wanting things to get any more out of hand I jump in.
“Ok. Sweetie. I will get the nurse her night off. Let’s go. Put your head on my shoulder and let’s walk to the car”
“All right but we need to make sure that she gets the right body because I’m Marnie and I was born in 1981 and my best friend is Becca”
“Ok. Let’s go” I can’t help but laugh at the half dazed conversation attempts made by poor Marnie. This really was a new side of her that I don’t think anyone had seen.
“Are we going to go on the reindeer?” she asked. “I want to see Rudolph’s red nose and meet Spencer the elf”
“How did you know about Spencer the elf?” I say with surprise.
Why go on, you ask? Well, I finish what I start and nanowrimo is no different. Plus I read this pep talk from Malinda Lo and I found it very encouraging. Here is a segment: ”
That’s what inspiration is. It’s seductive and thrilling, but you can’t depend on it to call you. It doesn’t work that way. The good thing is, inspiration is irrelevant to whether or not you finish your book. The only thing that determines that is your own sense of discipline.
Here’s what happens when I sit down to write. First, I turn off my access to the internet by engaging Freedom. (The internet is the number-one killer of writer productivity!) Second, I open Scrivener. (Substitute whatever word-processing program works for you.) Third, I force myself to sit there with my work-in-progress until Freedom says I’m done. (I always set it for at least one hour, and often three.) I don’t allow myself to get up to make endless cups of tea (one will do). I just sit there. That’s all.
How often am I filled with inspiration before I start writing? Pretty much never. Instead, I usually stare at my work-in-progress with a vague sense of doom. I often think to myself: What the hell am I doing in this scene? I don’t understand how to get my characters from Point A to Point B! I really want to check Twitter!
The trick is this: As long as I sit there with my work-in-progress, at some point I will write something, because there’s nothing else to do.
Whatever I write may not be any good, but that doesn’t matter. When you’re writing a first draft—which most of you are doing this month—the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Your first try will be riddled with mistakes, but that’s what revision is for. Right now, you only have to put those ugly, wrong words on the page so you can fix them later.
So, inspiration isn’t what gets your book written. Discipline is. However, inspiration does sometimes pop by for an unexpected visit.”
“The trick is to write something”. I really like that and it is exactly what I am doing. I am writing something and I will make it better and work on my 1st book even more because believe me it had much more inspiration. I know it isn’t the greatest book ever but I sincerely love it and want to make it as good as I possibly can. 22650 words left and I’ll be done! So excited.
How are you guys doing on nanowrimo and what do you do when you stop loving your manuscript? Do you just give up on it or finish? Thanks in advance for your insight.