Hello *hangs head in shame*
My name is Tempest and haven't blogged now for 6 days and quite a few hours.
I've let myself down, I've let my teachers down and worst of all I've let the tyres down on your car...no, I'm only joking, come back! I haven't honestly!
Actually I don't feel too bad about it at all, because although you haven't been able to see me writing I have been, furiously even though out of sight. I've been getting heavily involved in NaNoWriMo, the National (though it's really international) Novel Writing Month. I am determined that I AM by 30 November going to have a 'novel' of at least 50,000 words and become a NaNoWriMo winner.
If you want to follow my progress, here's my NaNoWriMo page where you can watch my counter hopefully go up each day and see a lovely avatar that Raphael Rufio Went created for me as my dalek self (though I'm waiting for him to shout at me for squishing it's dimensions to fit the NaNoWriMo avatar requirements).
As of last night I'm at 17150 words and it's become a really fascinating experience. I haven't written any fiction since university, so that was the Eighties. Yes, I've kept writing non-fiction, copy for news reports, websites, information leaflets etc and I'm pretty the routine and mechanics of regular writing is helping me a bit with the 'novel'.
I started NaNoWriMo listening to others saying they had no plots, characters, genres etc set and were just going to see what happened. I couldn't get my head around this - I thought there'd be no way I'd manage 50,000 and get from a start to an end of a story without SOME planning.
So in the days before November 1st, I chose my story (well a rough idea). I would do a modern day story based on the life of Saint Wilgefortis and other bearded ladies I've researched for my bearded lady burlesque routine. I wanted my character to experience some of the hardships life throws at you for being different, to try blending in, to fail at being 'normal' so to then shut herself away from an unsympathetic world but ultimately to learn to love herself for her differences, to rejoin the world again and become a force for good within it helping others coping with their differences.
If you're not aquainted with the bearded saint here's a beautiful musical and visual telling of it by Rebecca Clamp:
Anyway that was the plan. Wilgefortis has always been a very special tale to me and the amount of work I put into the act has always demanded a wider focus.
But it didn't work like that writing the novel.
Within two days Story Wilgefortis started living my life (though I sort of guessed she would) and writing the things she was going through became too intense and too painful for me to cope with right now.
But I wasn't going to give up on NaNoWriMo or Wilgefortis, so I changed tack. On day 3 she stepped into her shower, discovered it was a time machine and it transported her to a new plot...no, I'm not kidding.
Now I'm writing with no idea where my story is going, and it's fantastic. I have accepted that this month of writing is a huge laboratory in which I can switch points of view, genres, settings etc whenever I want to and just see what happens. Every day I sit down at my laptop and NO IDEA what's going to happen next until my fingers type it. I'm just typing free form stream of consciousness stuff, have introduced more characters to interact with and I'm having fun and seeing what comes out. And weirdly despite everything I'm throwing into the pot to see what happens, the story coming out actually seems to have direction.
The two greatest helps I've found are:
- setting my egg-timer to sessions of varying length - 10 mins, 15, 20 and 30 mins (20 minute sessions seem to be the best, most coherent and inventive without any struggle between my brain and my heart. 10 minutes is a bit short and 30 minutes usually drags towards the end causing me to find myself padding text with possibly superfluous descriptions, but we'll see in the 1st edit in December)
- using the wonderful NaNoWordSprints prompts on Twitter - run by 3 (I think) interns who tell us how long each sprint will be, when they start and finish and frequently throw in a 'dare' to include in the word sprint that shakes up my writing beautifully - yesterday they said to include a sudden change in weather, this caused my characters to have a huge car crash and I can't wait to start writing in a mo to find out what happens next ;)
Anyway, that's why blog posts are going to be a bit erratic during November. My parents are also arriving on the 19th for 10 days, so that will probably make posts a little more sparse - but bear with me, I won't leave you or let you down (too much) and normal service will be resumed in December when I'll tell you more about the novel I FINISHED in a month (I believe!)