It’s December 1st. Last month I started something I thought I might regret. I have been trying to write 50,000 words of a new novel in a month as part of ‘National Novel Writing Month’ (Nanowrimo). Have I regretted my decision? Not yet, but I still might. I decided to keep a diary of my month and released the first part last week. You can read it here, if you need to catch up on what came before.
Read on for part two.
20,000 words in. I’m not far off the halfway mark. My story has blossomed into the next tragic love story of the decade. Well, tragic anyway.
Friday the 13th. 22,000 words. Tragic love story is less a love story and more an examination of how people react differently to bad news.
Saturday means it’s time to give my brain a day off. So I’ve gone to see a friend and his dog. A beautiful German shepherd puppy that gets so over-excited to see me that she pees on the floor. I always wanted to be a hit with the ladies, but this wasn’t what I had in mind. At least my friend doesn’t pee on the floor. Well not in front of me anyway.
For some reason, my friend and I watch Star Wars Episode 3. It’s the one where Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. It’s not as bad as The Phantom Dennis or Attack of the Drones, but it’s still pretty bad. But light sabers are cool! Whoomm! Whooom!
I’m in the trenches now. Stupid light sabers. My characters are no longer my characters. They are doing what they want to do. Stubbornly refusing to go where I want them to go. This might take longer than I expected.
My back has been hurting so I booked an appointment to see an osteopath. She has made my back do things I’m not sure backs are supposed to do. Bit sore. But still writing.
Weather cold. Hands cold. Feet cold. Brain coldly wondering if it can lapse me into a coma to stop me from writing what may or may not be utter drivel. Also have to finish reading ‘The Goblin Emperor’ before my book club this evening. Good book so far, (The Goblin Emperor, not mine). Why did I decide to write about people’s ‘feelings’? Elves and goblins are way more fun!
Me John. Me speak no English.
31,000 words down. Jess’s folks are here for a few days so I am delighted to use them as an excuse not to write anything today. Plus we’re off to see the ATP Tennis afternoon session at the O2. It’s completely over the top. They’ve nicked the voice off the X-Factor and every ‘Ace’ or ‘Deuce’ is dramatically announced with lights, sound effects and a heartbeat. Even the umpire looks confused. Still, not every day you get to watch Rafael Nadal live. All in all a pretty fun day. Time to celebrate with a few beers!
I’m never drinking again. Not until this evening at least. Watch Doctor Who. Clara’s death is shit. Director ruins good story with excessive slow motion. He thinks it denotes ‘epic feeling’. In this case it denotes ‘epic boredom’. What a knob. I need more Paracetamol.
It’s Sunday and I’ve just remembered I agreed to do an ‘Eye Heroes’ workshop tomorrow evening. I have to stand up in front of a bunch of kids somewhere in Bedford and show them how important eye checks and tests are. How do you keep a bunch of 8 year olds engaged for an hour? Much to my disgust, I don’t actually own a light saber. Oh well, if all else fails I can just take my false eye out and throw it at them. I hate being nice sometimes. Just under 15,000 words to go. I have an end to aim for, but as with all my stories, it might change when I get there.
Why does anyone want to be a parent? Children are not sweet and cute. They’re loud and annoying. They also have the attention span of a goldfish. After an hour and a half drive to Wootton (a town that time forgot), my Eye Heroes colleague and I finally find the venue we’ve been looking for. It’s a scout hut hidden away between two banks of chav 70s houses. Inside are two dozen 4ft high midgets on crack cocaine. They’re otherwise known as ‘Wootton Scout Group’. I briefly consider yelling ‘retreat!’ to my colleague, but she’s already walking in ahead. I can’t abandon her to these microscopic savages, so I follow her in. We do a quick run through of what we have and what we’re going to do:
- Laptops with presentations – Check
- Printed Certificates to give to the Ewoks at the end – Check
- Printed handouts to help us through a workshop we’ve never run before – Check
- Speakers we were promised for the Laptops so the Ewoks can hear the videos – Negative.
1 hour later
I seriously think we should begin mass sterilisation of the human population. Our ‘workshop’ was well received. Allegedly. I couldn’t tell as I was too busy trying to make myself heard over the screams and yells of two dozen escaped farm animals. When we test them though, it seems the information has actually sunk in. We get a round of applause and I try to remember if I was as loud when I was 8 years old. When I get home and idly chat about it with Jess, she reminds me that I am generally loud, period. I obviously have a lot to consider.
I have also done something to one of my characters that I had not planned to do, but which seemed right. This means I need to write my way out of a hole tomorrow. (Slow hand clap)
I have decided to be nice to one of my characters. He loses his virginity in true plonker style, only to get caught by his mum. Actually that isn’t very nice at all.
The hole I’ve gotten myself into is not as big as I thought. In fact I seem to have found a tunnel at the bottom, and have decided to write myself through to see where it leads. Damn…that was good! I need to write that down.
I have discovered just how cruel and sadistic I am. Not content with being nasty to one of my favourite characters, I’ve gone and been horrific to another. (Laughs maniacally rubbing his hands in delight!) Meeting some friends for dinner and a pub quiz later. Should be fun.
Discovered that my friends and I have a combined IQ of 12. The pub quiz was a disaster. The science expert knew nothing about the science questions. The general knowledge expert was generally confused. The picture round expert amused himself by writing whatever the hell he liked as long as it made him laugh. We came last. Which was better than we expected. 3 days left. Have passed 50,000 words but I have a feeling this story has a way to go yet.
It’s Saturday. For once I am being extremely lazy. Can’t even be arsed to update this diary properly.
Still being lazy. Watch Britain win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936. Hooray! We don’t suck at every sport. Go to the pub with Jess. Discuss our plans for the future. My idea of constructing a gigantic space station capable of destroying an entire planet is dismissed as unrealistic and unoriginal. Our idea of trying to see if we can work abroad next year is greeted with mutual enthusiasm and alcohol.
I won the challenge on Friday, but I still have more to write before my story of death is complete. Nanowrimo has once again re-enforced my belief that targets do make better writers. Even if you don’t win, it gets you thinking and writing. You have nowhere to hide except behind your own shame if you don’t try.
This has been a strange and exhausting month. It’s not time to celebrate yet. I need to finish the book first.