Sunday, November 01, 2009


Today, I finally began my novel, MOTHER.  I'm throwing out expectation as well as I can and writing for the finish line--almost literally, as part of the National Novel Writing Month competition.  Suzy Vitello (already a novelist) and Tim Sailer (fellow blogger and actor) are my "buddies," whose word counts I check hourly.  Suzy is way ahead at the moment.  Tim is 50 words behind.  I know Suzy is working from an extensive outline and oodles of information about what makes a plot tick.  I'm working from memory, wishful thinking, vengeance and a dab of elemental prurience.  I don't know what Tim is working from--he'll have to let me know.

I had a rude awakening today when I began.  I have a title, characters, a basic situation, and little more.  I wrote a first sentence, which seemed to hold some deductive and inferential promise (if I can deduce the entire novel from the first sentence, so much the better!)  The sentence I chose is six words long, including a proper noun.  Unfortunately, this proper noun did not belong to any of the characters who are at the center of my story.  This seemed worrisome for a moment.  But then, after mixing and adding freely traits from at least three people I tangled with in the distant past, I realized I was fine:  stories can start anywhere, and with anyone.  And so I'm off, covering a whole lot of narrative ground from a swooping god's eye view, but what the hell.  If it's worth anything, I can touch feet to ground when the first draft is done and go beating the episodic bushes then.  Hell man, I LIKE narrative.  It's one of the glories of the novel.

I have some serious catch up to do tomorrow.

Tuesday Update: Holy toledo, I'm writing drivel!


Tim said...

I'm working on cans of Coke and coffee and absolutely no idea of what's going to happen. I fear much of what I'm writing is to version of Richard Russo's STRAIGHT MAN (a novel I just read not too long ago) except dealing more with college students and a young professor. I've already got misgivings where it's all going without even having an outline or ANYTHING.

But your paranoia that I may have a higher word count than you is excellent motivation.

I'm gonna win.

Angela said...

I did NaNoWriMo in 2007 (and ended with a word count of 56,021), and it was one of the coolest things I've ever done. Good luck!

suzy vitello soulé said...

I'm grinding my teeth constantly, if that makes you feel better, Millstone, and as far as the outline, that's already worthless. So much for preparation.

I've just begun my second chapter--the first foray into "how did I get here" backstory. Forefront in my mind is to never lose track of my character's motivation, her fears and her heart, not necessarily in that order.

My opening chapter had three central characters, one of the phone and one of Skype. I'm afraid this story will be saturated with popular culture references that I'll want to delete, but can't, due to the "no revision" rule. Thank God for that "no revision" rule. Seriously.

Keep chugging along there, D!

David Millstone said...

i'm seriously behind right now because I have to have this thing written by Nov. 23rd, when we go to London. HOWEVER, Irene is in Colombia for the next ten days, and I plan to bleed ink the whole time....

suzy vitello soulé said...

Bleed away, David! You're a big strapping fellow with lots of blood to lend to this endeavor. I fully expect your word count to hit the five-figure mark by week's end.