Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter and the Holidays, aka: Why is NaNoWriMo in November exactly?

First of all, thanks to Rob and Cathi for the feedback! I tried to leave you a friendly comment but apparently me and Blogger.com are fighting, so instead you get a shoutout! Way better, right?

To answer both of you on the subject of Liana, she is indeed very protective of herself, especially at this point in the story. She is the crown princess, and has been raised to be very conscious of herself and her position. My goal is to write her as a person who, while she is very devoted to her duty, will only really go out of her way on a personal level for Liander. And what you don't know here is that she's actually quite young, so she still has much of the self-interest of youth, and the self-doubt. Being pregnant in this scene probably doesn't help her ability to engage in the sort of mental stillness and flirtation with death that to me make a good warrior. All of this would be way more apparent with some context, so I apologize for just kind of throwing you under the bus there.

In any case, moving on. The subject of my post is one near and dear to my heart. That is, of course, finding time to write for relatively extended periods of time (instead of just jotting down a few sentences in between other activities, which all too often happens to me and leads to longer rewrites). I'm sure the lovely people at the Office of Letters and Light thought they were positively clever to pick November as the month for the national writing of novels, for many reasons not least of which is the natural alliteration inherent, not to mention the sudden deepening of cold in the temperate climbs of our own northern hemisphere. However, as was so correctly pointed out to me at the beginning of my attempt at this illustrious and unctuous activity, November is an unnaturally short month for writers who aren't residents of a small hut on the edge of the Arctic Circle or somewhere else equally reclusive. Why, you may ask? Because the end of November is the start of the holidays.

For me, holidays mean going home, spending a whole lot of time sleeping, talking, and eating food, only to realize suddenly that I haven't done anything I said I was going to get done that week, including writing that chapter I was hoping to finish, or submitting that short story. Much less completing the last leg of a 50,000 unit lexicological demonstration of skill. (For entertainment this morning I am reading a thesaurus. Pardon me if I stretch the usage of some words, I like to experiment.) Ultimately, you're left having gained about twenty pounds and having written about five words, which you will probably scrap as products of food-induced dilusions. But I digress.

The worst part about holidays is that once you have hit November, you're often, whether you like it or not, on a rollercoaster ride straight through to New Year's. So how do you find time to write between all of the magical activities that surely crop up? It's a sticky situation, and I think all of us run into it at some point or another. There is a divide, after all, between who we would like to be and who we are currently that can often only be bridged by sleeplessness. But I say to you, fellow writers, that there is a silver lining in all of this madness! At least, there is one for me.

I find that my greatest inspiration for projects often comes when I am encountering something new. There is a fine line to walk, of course, but after being exposed to new ideas, scenery, and people, I often find myself better able to communicate the reality of my story in a more visceral way. It is not necessarily that I didn't know where the story was going before, but that I had lost touch with reality. After all, a good story only truly exists when you have brought it far enough into reality to be felt by the reader (though you must make sure not to bring it too far.) In essence, living life fully brings you closer to your art.

1 comment:

  1. I posted a post...but apparently the blog gnomes at it. Darn!