Day 1 of NaNoWriMo is complete. I finished up at 1,781 words, and I could have written more had three little boys under the age of four not been needing my undivided attention.
Things I discovered while writing on Day 1:
- I wrote 1,781 in about an hour. My weekly newspaper columns usually take a couple of hours, and a scientific article clocking in at 1,800 words can take anywhere from five hours to a couple of days as far as first draft goes. I've discovered that I am usually not a drafter. I write it once, make major edits as I go and make minor (grammar and punctuation) edits once I'm finished. And obviously, it works for me because that's how I earn my living. This whole idea of drafting for fiction is a foreign concept to me. BUT...
- I like what happens when I throw caution to the wind, set a timer and just write. Things pop out of my head that I didn't know were in there. I'm usually a very calculated writer, agonizing over each sentence before it goes down on the page.
- Proper noun-type things (street names, character names) are a lot less stressful when you just put down the first thing that comes to mind and go back to fix it later. This is how the Clomp Stompers came to life today. They are the greasy, washed-up (actually never got off the ground) punk band who appeared in the parade that takes place in Scene 2, Chapter 1 of Five Souls today. I love the lead singer, and he just made his way onto the page immediately after the band name spit itself out of my subconscious. I'm sure the Clomp Stompers will get cut in the early rounds of edits for one reason or another, but for now it's fun to have these guys around. The Elvis pumpkin above is another one of those fun discoveries that create themselves. The words were on the page before I even knew if anyone had ever created an Elvis pumpkin. Guess what, they have? I googled for "Elvis Pumpkin" after I finished writing and found this beauty.
- I usually have a song of the day whenever I'm writing fiction. Although I put together a playlist for the first three chapters (you can take a look at it here), one song typically aligns itself with the scene. Today's song was "Chuck" by Sum 41. Not sure what it was, but the angsty guitar, and the line "Some say we're better off without/Knowing what life is all about..." resonated with the emotional space that Maggie (my MC) is in right now. I wrote a scene on the front lawn of City Hall, when everything is going to crap with her group of high school friends. She's moved on and they're still living the same patterns that they always have. It just fit.
- I love writing teenage dialogue. I never knew that I was good at getting into the heads of snarky teenage girls. I'm not sure what this says about me, because I was the farthest thing from snarky as a teenager. Maybe it's my inner mean girl that been trapped all these years trying to get out. Maybe it's like writing that inner dialogue that I spent many years thinking but would never have said out loud because I was a nice girl. Regardless, it's fun to be a "Mean Girl" - at least on paper.
- In spite of all of these positives, I'm still fighting myself on this book. I love my ideas. I love the direction that I've planned for the story, but everything that I put down just feels trite and cliche to me. I know it's my Inner Editor (IE) who is just pissed off because I usually let her run the show. But everytime I questioned myself today, I just cranked up the music, looked at the timer and kept typing. A few little nuggets of good sprinkled themselves throughout the horrid. It's those little gems that will keep me going. It's like what keeps people golfing - not the game itself, but the few good shots that make you want to keep coming back for more. So I've heard anyway!