Sunday, November 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo Wrap-up

50,000 words in a month works out to 1667 words a day. I think. That is relevant information only if you can start on November 1 and can work every weekend. We had a wedding to attend on the first weekend, which was also Nov. 1st. I did 500 words that whole weekend, I think, but I enjoyed seeing two young people commit to each other in a ceremony that never ceases to move me.

Then there was Melbourne Cup - and we stop for that, even if the whole nation doesn't, quite. I made a (free-range) chicken terrine and took it up to the Mothership's and everyone except The Knitting Girlfriend lost money. It was a sad Melbourne Cup day - not because we lost - but because two horses in the race were put down which made me wonder if we'd ever bother again.

I caught up on some marking and then we had interstate visitors and a business strategy meeting,  some more marking and some French homework. I had an afternoon TAFE meeting which took up another day because I had to drive to Warragul and back and then I had some good teaching ideas for 2015 which led to a flurry of emails. I'd also signed up to a MOOC, which I wanted to finish just because it was so interesting.

However, I'm not, as Mademoiselle Rouge pointed out, working full-time and people working full-time complete their 50,000 words. She was right. I am, however, writing a historical novel which required research. There is nothing that stops me in my tracks so much as a question of authenticity. If my protagonist gets her hair cut, was there hairspray in 1942? Oh my goodness! Google! (The answer is no. Hairspray in aerosol cans was a by-product of World War II. Aerosol cans were invented for insecticides. It's pretty damned clever to look at an insecticide and imagine it spraying an up-do, but there you are. That's what makes people rich.)

Research took extra time, but I realised just how much I love it, which was a NaNoWriMo bonus. Doing much of it on the fly irritated me, and I really disliked not being able to edit as I went along. Actually, I did edit, at first, and then I realised how much time that was taking and simply steeled myself to resist it. That was probably the most difficult thing of all.

I did learn that a bit of planning really does help. I had a lot of this story percolating in my head for a year, but it was a story made up of anecdotes and it lacked a clear trajectory. The anecdotes are all family stories that had to be harnessed in some kind of way. I could start with them, but the final product needed a lot of fictional shaping. It was great to have so much material to work with and that allowed me to find the shaping quite quickly, I think. I have my fingers crossed here, because I know I have to do a radical editing job further down the track to get that working properly.

What really surprised me most, I think, was the amount of joy I took each day in sitting down to write. It's been a very focused writing experience and yet nothing else seemed to really suffer from my lack of attention. The Accountant will tell you he had to cook a couple of times - but we didn't come down with salmonella. There was a little more angst than normal at the start - but that has been more than made up for by sheer bounciness in the last half of the month. The Mothership will tell you there have been less movies seen - but a surprising amount of gardening was accomplished.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

Now, what on earth will I do tomorrow?

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