Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Really Good Guy

The NaNoWriMo website is currently down. This is frustrating, because once I've finished my writing for the "day," I count on being able to log in and input my new total, in order to watch my little blue status bar move slightly to the right.

So far, so good. I have a rough outline, I have a timeline, and at the end of day three, I have 5264 words.

Orange asked me what I'm writing this month. The "it's late and I'm really tired" version is this:

I'm working on a literary fiction, very character-driven novel called The Really Good Guy. The title character is a married-with-kids, 36-year-old workaholic who has always been described as a good person. More importantly, that's how he sees himself. And then he does something that's pretty awful. He has to deal with the consequences, but most importantly, he has to see himself as the sort of guy who'd do such a bad thing.

This story presents all sorts of challenges for me, not least among which are that my main character is older than me, male, and a workaholic while I'm an at-home mom. (That's whole different kind of working hard.) It's hard for me to keep his wife and kids in the background where they belong.

"Write what you know" is good, solid writing advice. And I am writing what I know, just in a different way. Sometimes using a narrator who sees the world from a different perspective can shed interesting light on a story.

It really is impossible for me to write well this fast. It's not, however, a wasted exercise. I might not have a beautiful, lyrical novel, but I often put pretty stuff in later, once the outline of the story is in place. I shade after I sketch. I upholster after I construct, and so forth.

At the end of the month, I don't plan to have a publishable novel. I hope to have 50,000 words, the bones of a really interesting story, consisting mostly of scenes and summary without a lot of connective tissue: a great outline that can be fleshed out and lifted up a bit into something that I can be proud of.

3 days ago, I had a few notes jotted down at the Borders Cafe. Tonight I have more than 5000 words of new, original fiction typed and saved. I don't care which words they are; I'm proud of that.


  1. That's the thing I like about NaNo. It gives you a new way of writing. It tests your skills and keeps the story moving so that you can worry about the mechanics later. It's about letting the internal editor take a rest while you see what you are capable of. Great job on your word count. I've got 5211 words as of last night.

  2. Way to go on the writing....I so wanted to do Nanowrimo this year, but the current of my life is just flowing way too swiftly right now for me to partake.

    Keep those thoughts flowing and your word count climbing....and someday I look forward to reading your finished book.

    Peace, TM

  3. Sunday night update: 7034 words!

    Amanda, my internal editor doesn't rest unless she's been knocked out with a hammer. But that's sort of what NaNoWriMo is, I suppose.

    Tara, I hope to finish this book someday. And I hope that when I do, it's worth reading! I also hope that you find/make the time to try this one year. It's a crazy thing to do - who has the time?! - but so far I'm finding it very rewarding.

  4. Psst, if you want a link to a word meter, e-mail me. They're keeping it on the downlow this year to keep NaNo from overloading them.

  5. I totally want that! I'll try to email later; baby wants attention now and mommy's brief breakfast break is over. : )