Halfway through the month, but more than halfway done at 34, 327 words.
I can tell you that my inner-editor is like a tiger in a cage, reaching out with clawed paws, trying to slash at my work.
I panicked last night. It was after dinner and I was in the bathroom washing my hands and I looked in the mirror.
“My story sucks!” my inner-editor screamed. We’ll call him Saber (as in saber-toothed tiger).
“Aw, crap. Can authors publish books in more than one genre? I mean, if I write a sort-of love story now, can I go back and write a fantasy, if that’s what ekes out of my head?”
It was like I had an angel on my left shoulder and the devil on my right and they were having a shouting match. Except this time it was Saber and that squeaky little voice in my head that plays the Victim so well.
“Probably not,” Saber continued. “You shouldn’t have tried this NaNo thing. You’re going to put all this time into a book that will never sell.”
“Shut up!” Victim yelled, trying to push Saber back into the cage. “Just shut up! Even the well-known authors produce crappy first drafts!”
“Yeah, but they actually have something to work with!”
Leaving the conversation between Victim and Saber in the bathroom, I began to look online for inspiration. It has become my habit to find inspiration in those moments of self-doubt. More than anything, it helps me to keep Saber in his cage, where he belongs.
I found some interesting websites worth a read for any writer, thanks to StumbleUpon. I selected my category, “writing” and stumbled from site to site. I noted my favorites that came up:
Aliventures is a great blog. She talks about the fact that fiction is so hard to write. You won’t get any argument from me there. I’ve had to draw upon my own life in more than one instance and I know it’ll happen again, but this puts it all in perspective.
There are some exercises for writers of fiction, in case the creative juices dry up. I don’t have much time to look at these while I’m doing NaNo, but before I go back and edit my first ugly draft, I might try some of these.
I know I will also have to make my vocabulary more colorful. Right now, I’m using simple verbiage and elementary sentences. That’s okay, but I intend to dress up my prose with some of the most beautiful words in the English language.
I try not to use “said” too much in my dialogue, but in the interest of cranking out some words with a unique variation, I’ve looked online for other ways to say “said.” It’s really helpful.
I found an editor’s page who talks about the words she never wants to see in my novel. I’m actually glad she wrote that because looking at my first draft, I do have a number of “suddenlys” and probably an overload of “thats.”
But you know, looking at these sites tames the Saber. Now, when I go back, I know my first draft is going to be crap. I can approach it logically and in small steps.
I still wish I could create a fantastical world like some of my favorite authors, though. I’m hoping that will happen on the next go-around. I love stories where you just get lost and wish with a sore heart that the world you’re reading about was real.
I found that to be true when I was in middle school and wanted to be an astronaut for a while. I wanted the world of Star Trek to exist, complete with a Starfleet Academy and a Federation of Planets. In my mind, I pictured myself as a cadet and flying a starship as a freshly minted ensign, ascending the ranks so that, one day, I could take Captain Janeway’s place on Voyager.
It was true again when I read Harry Potter. I know, I know, everybody knows about Harry Potter and it’s almost becoming cliché. Maybe it already has. But can I tell you, when the first book came out when I was in college, I read it and wanted to live in that world. I wanted to cast magic spells upon my enemies and take Defense of the Dark Arts. I wanted to be Hermione’s best friend and show her that I could do a Patronus charm better than she could.
The same thing is happening now – even as an adult – as I’m getting through the Eragon series. Dang it, I want a pet dragon whose blue scales shimmer in the sun. I want to know how to speak the ancient language where no one can tell a lie and they can only say what they mean. I wish I could live as long as an elf and live in a magical world, breathing life into the nearby trees and flowers.
I’m going back to my own book and it’s fine. It’s interesting enough to me. But at the risk of using NaNoWriMo only to prove to myself that I can actually write, when I get to the 50,000 word mark, I have the biggest desire – in this moment at least – to shelve it and figure out how to create a fantasy world that I want to live in. Those are the kinds of books that capture others’ imaginations.
The question is, how do I imagine it? How do I create it? How do I play God?