21 Nov 2011
The denouement is creeping closer. I am carefully setting the scene for the fall and resolution.
I have had some pretty huge writing days. At least three days over the month I have written over 5ooo. Another few I have written over 3000. I did not keep my promise to myself to write everyday. The delicious progress bar chart on the NaNo site has little steps in the middle of most weeks where I didn’t progress at all. On my least productive day I wrote 25 words. A long sentence. That was it.
As I press on for the last 10 days (eek!) as I pass 35 000 and then 45 000, I have to keep reminding myself that not every page will be great but that it exists at all is great. I look forward to the race to the finish line. Not least of all because they maybe, just maybe be champagne waiting when I cross it.
I am learning an enormous amount about the writing craft during this challenge. Here is a sample of the lessons. (Any seasoned writers reading this, please turn the page now, before I fall in your esteem.)
1. Dialogue is hard to write. Actually, good dialogue is hard to write.
2. You need an infinite variety of synonyms for ‘quietly’ or ‘softly’ if your characters are whispering to each other a lot. (Mine are)
3. My characters spend a lot of time with their faces pressed up against the glass looking out – at the view, at the skyline, at the planes. They are always doing it! Is this normal?
4. If you write with action in both hemispheres at once, map out what season it is at any point first. So confusing. I am sure that these sections will need editing, a lot of editing.
5. You need to keep checking your character’s motivations, clarifying point of view. Would she really say that? Is she just not going to answer the phone?
6. Some word, that you don’t often have to type are really hard to spell and look all wrong when you type them; meringue for example.
7. Sometimes the writing is easy, it comes out and flows well. Sometimes it is torture to sit at the desk for one more minute writing what you know is essential description but so boring that you’d rather stick a pencil in your eye that write one more word about the departure lounge at Heathrow. (For the record I just stopped; the plane took off, scene finished, job done.)