Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finishing NaNoWriMo brings unexpected melancholy

I submitted my work-in-progress to the NaNoWriMo validator and I'm proud to share I passed. The award proves it.

A couple things about this award make me melancholy however. One is that it's over. The community aspects have been very motivating. Another is that I'm not actually finished. I didn't end the month with a novel. I ended it with scraps of scenes and a lot of nonsense. It's like a Frankenstein monster is hiding in all those pages. And I'm afraid to go in unarmed.

While it's still fresh, let me tell you about my process. I started by expanding a short story I wrote a few months ago. I put together a basic outline in October and started fresh on November 1. I followed the trail of that story for most of November, without ever really understanding the characters. But not for lack of trying. I engaged in the writerly equivalent of improv. I threw characters into loosely linked and dire situations with one thought only: maybe I can salvage something. I manufactured some really weird situations, by the way. Some of them stuck.

I flailed a lot this month. I daydreamed. I got drunk. I wrote some terrible sentences such as last night's "A round flat robot in the shape of a triangle..." I met cool people, and I successfully shut off my inner editor for whole minutes at a time.

The real success of November was in my ability to produce consistently. (I wrote as much in my last post and I still believe it.) I saw results due to keeping up with my milestones. And maybe I feel melancholy for the same reasons Weight Watchers made me feel melancholy. I realized that I will never be done, not even on an arbitrary last day of the month. By subscribing to this program, I've just created a lifestyle that will dictate all the rest of my days.


Enough of that. I'm off to draft a plan to bring Frankenstein to his bruised and borrowed knees.


Tim Sevenhuysen said...

Congrats on making it through the full month! Whether you think the story you've written so far is any good or not, think of it this way: you now have 50,000 actual words to work with that you didn't have a month ago.


Folly Blaine said...

Thank you, Tim! What you say is full of truth. I am definitely ahead of where I was a month ago.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Good show! Congratulations.

Folly Blaine said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! And congratulations on your HUGE word count.

Mark said...


There's a lot to be said for writing consistently. And there's also a lot to be said for the kind of reflection that is evident in this post.

You'll learn a lot from this Frankenstein experience, even if you end up scrapping the novel in the future. You'll know what to look out for next time around. A very worthwhile lesson. Good job!

Folly Blaine said...

Thanks, Mark! You're so right about the importance of writing consistently. Congratulations on hitting 50,000 words yourself.