Well, this has been, and will continue to be, quite the learning experience. I’m having a great time, but there are a few certain doubts that are beginning to creep into my head. I’m going to plow through this and make the 50k, simply because I refuse to post pictures of myself online, but I’m starting to wonder about the quality of the story.
I’m almost 12k into the story and characters and ideas are popping up out of nowhere. What was supposed to be a horror novel is turning into some sort of multicultural, pansexual, somewhat murderous tale of erotic nighttime adventures. It’s been a blast to write, and to sit around brainstorming for, but it’s turning out to be so weird. It feels nice to cut loose and not worry about what anyone I know will think when they read it. I’m certain I’d never show this to my mother short of letting her buy a copy off a Borders shelf (I’m a bit premature on this but please, let me have my dreams, all right?), but other than that I haven’t really felt odd about it. That’s odd in and of itself, considering how self-conscious I used to be with my writing.
I sent Eric the first chapter to let him read and critique. He’s not much for fiction writing himself, but he’s as objective and helpful as any significant other could possibly be. I owe him a lot, not just for his patience but his help as well. He’s given me some good advice over the years, and he doesn’t do any of that “Oh, this is so wonderful, you’re the greatest author ever!” ass-kissing nonsense.
I took my usual bath today, extra hot and discolored from scented salts. This week I’ve been using a sakura-scented salt from the Tokyo Store. Actually, all my salts come from there, but I hadn’t ever tried this one until Sunday. It’s nice, and it tints the water a very lovely rose color. It smells wonderful, as well. I get a lot done in the bath, from reading novels to short stories to fiction manuals. I usually manage to bathe, as well.
Today during my soak I started reading Haruki Murakami’s After Dark. It opens in a Denny’s and goes on for several pages before actually introducing the main characters. I read on for a bit, and eventually I came to realize something. I’m writing my novel as if it were a short story, or a series of short stories chained together by plot. My sense of rhythm and pacing are completely off. It’s understandable, as this is my first attempt at longer fiction, but it’s still a bit confusing and more than slightly disappointing. I like my story, I’m starting to really like my cast of characters, and I don’t want to do wrong by them. I’m grateful for all the learning experience this has given me in such a short amount of time, though. For all the people who hate NaNoWriMo (and there are several, starting with this guy) and say it does no good but delude shitty writers into producing shitty crap, I have to disagree. Even if I didn’t take anything away from this, I’d still disagree with them just for being massive assholes about it, because honestly, unreasonable people aren’t even worth listening to.
I’m not a shitty writer. I just want to make this clear, despite the fact that most of these people (if not all of them) are meaningless shadows somewhere on the Internet that I will never have to personally face. I may not be at the top of the NYT bestsellers’ list, but I’m not a shitty writer. I never have been and I never will be. I learn something new every day and I’m enjoying this process. I don’t know why, but every time I see this argument I get incensed. I’m not sure if it’s some hidden self-doubt or the fact that they’re making very vitriolic blanket statements that seemingly include me but manage to elevate themselves above them. Aside from Cliff Burns, who creates beautiful prose when he’s not ranting about “posers and wannabes,” I’m not impressed by any of them.
One more thing before I return to the original subject. These “legitimate authors” all seem to find NaNo offensive because participants are thumbing their noses at them and laughing because they’ve written a novel without time spent studying the craft. Yes, this is what NaNo says, but are these “artistes” all unable to detect when a tongue is planted firmly in cheek?
After I got out of the bath, fixed some fish tank problems that had been bothering me, worked on Chapter Four of my NaNo project and finished cleaning up, I read my return email from Eric. As it turns out, we’re on the same wavelength despite not even being in the same counties. He thinks it’s moving way too fast, and that Chapter One could actually be divided up and expanded into three chapters. He also thinks I introduced the antagonist way too early. But he likes it, and that means a lot to me. It’s odd hearing my own opinions echoed back to me several hours later, especially since I hadn’t voiced these opinions yet. I suppose this is why we are as strong a couple as we are.
So, now I’m left wondering where to go with this. Should I break the novel apart and write a new intro chapter (or chapters, as Eric suggested) now? Should I keep on truckin’ and wait to add during the revision process this spring? I don’t have all of Chapter Four with me right now, mostly due to being inept at updating my flash drive, though I watched as I transferred the entire folder from my desktop. I’ll have to double-check when I get home. If I lost 1000+ words, I’m going to be irritated. I was going to continue with Chapter Four, and I might still be able to since I know where I left off. Celia just met with Kitty in the back of a club called Night in a flashback sequence.
I have five hours before I go home, and I’d like to make 8k+ in progress by Saturday night. I think I might look over what I have and make some decisions as to what I want to do with this and how I need to go about it. I’ve stayed ahead this whole time and I’ll be damned if I fall back now.