Since I last posted here (that is, since *I* last posted, as opposed to the automatic updates) I’ve travelled half way around the world and back, and a million miles in my subconscious. All of which did exactly as it was meant to do and gave me a new perspective on my life and life plans. However, there’s one thing that doesn’t change and that’s my love of writing.
So, even while I was away, I made a hand-written start on the year’s contribution to National Novel Writing Month – a frenzy of words and friendship that gets the creative juices flowing and, mercifully, has given me something fun to plough straight into as soon as I got off the plane.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my plan this year is just to write the minimum 50,000 words, as opposed to the last two years where I’ve aimed and hit much higher. It’s actually kind of hard to limit yourself to 1667 words per day when you’re in the flow of writing. Well, it is for me anyway. In that first week with a notebook and pen, I barely managed 8k because I was so busy with my travels, but I’ve already caught up and now i just want to keep going.
I’ve completed two of my seven shorts (and 17073 words) – one a fantasy piece about a fallen star and the other a sorry little tragedy about a vagabond in Vancouver. I enjoyed both, although I must admit there is a lot less fantasy in Stargazing than I would have liked. Must try harder on my genre fiction!
Now I’m working on a new story entitled Robin Hood, about one woman’s search for her father’s inheritance. It’s really stretching my creative muscles as it includes extracts from the Tales of Robin Hood book which she’s reading, and it’s also testing my literary knowledge as it includes references and memories of other classics such as Wuthering Heights and the Lord of the Rings (bear in mind I hated the former and haven’t read the latter!).
At seven thousand words each, the biggest challenge with doing these stories for NaNo is not to waste words. It’s easy when caught up in a word war (timed, competitive writing challenges) to just keep writing for the sake of getting something down on the page. But a short story is not like a novel. You don’t just fill the pages any which way; every word, every scene has to contribute something to the overall flow. In a novel, you can weed out or beef up the tangents at the editing stage, but with a short story (especially one with a target word count) there is less room for maneuver. It’s good practice and I’m genuinely loving being back in the writing groove, but it’s a very different challenge from the one most Wrimos are facing this month.
If you would like to keep track of my progress, you can check my profile at http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/jaaelmo
Alternatively, just keep checking back here where I’ll be updating with word count and progress whenever I can.