Category: Imagine a Novel Weblog Page 1 of 2

epilogue, 18 1/2 years later

You can’t just start writing a novel. You have to plan it out.

Don’t you?

I mean, it just seems weird. You and the page. The blank, empty retina screen covered with little cat hairs. (The cats love the laptop keyboard; it’s so warm.)

There’s no structure, there’s no form. There are no people. You’re essentially creating a universe. You’re a god.

You’re God.

Maybe that’s why people like writing novels.

It feels tiresome to me. It feels like a lot of work. I have my own voice in my head, very strong. I guess I have my mom’s, now, too. But do I have a cacophony of characters clamoring to get out?

No, not really.

Where are they? There’s (pretty much) just me in there. Are there various parts of me? Heck yeah. But am I going to split them up into little caricatures? And how is it not just entirely arbitrary, what you write?

It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to read, like, a single page of the several writing books I own. So, yeah, long form fiction? I love reading it. Never really wanted to write it.

I did try to do National Novel Writing Month in November 2002. I got about 5,000 words in, which is farther than I had remembered, and it is sort of interesting. It’s also terrible, but it is an incomplete first novel, so of course it is.

I got 10% in, in 11 days out of a 30-day month, which means I was horribly behind the pace. The fact that I was doing this during November 2002, which was my fourth month in the Bay Area after moving here (soon to be “there”) without a job, tells me the venture was a bit of a half-assed attempt to avoid reality. I was dialing for dollars and really did not like it. I had very little energy left after canvassing at night, staying up too late (sometimes until sunrise), and then getting up (sometimes around dusk) to go canvass again.

I had also just left a young woman behind, and we were somewhat emotionally entwined at the time. She loved me in her way. She wanted to want to be with me. Maybe she only wanted to want to want to be with me. In any case, I was a source of stability. My feelings for her were strong, but I was also pretty emotionally immature and needy. (I might still be, but not like I was then.)

I used her middle name to name one of the main female characters in the story. I didn’t quite pattern the character after her, but close enough.

I never finished the story I wrote. It was a little cliched—what if the country split up into smaller countries? It’s been done. And it was kind of about the emotional journey of these two guys—one certainly a stand-in for me, but it’s difficult to remember after seventeen years.

Interesting, though, that I’m thinking about this. Sure, I’m going through old files and photos. I’m six weeks from leaving the place I’d been for just ten weeks… seventeen years ago. And everything is almost exactly the opposite!

402 posts in 10 1/2 years…

or about 3.2 posts per month. That seems right.

(And this is after importing my NaNoWriMo blog entries and my “Unfinished Thoughts” from my abortive tumblelog at gohlkus.wordpress.com.)

I need an infinite number of hours and monkeys

Because I haven’t done laundry in a while, and was sweaty from biking, I changed into my NaNoWriMo shirt yesterday immediately before my East Bay for Democracy (DFA) meetup. Subsequent conversations make it likely that I might throw my hat into the ring again for NaNoWriMo 2004. [I didn’t.]

I like the format for this blog so much better than the one I use for my main blog. I should change the formatting of the main one. (Of course, I haven’t made time to update that blog in six weeks; what makes me think I’m going to reformat the whole thing?) I need an infinite number of hours and monkeys.

Despite what I said in my last NaNoWriMo entry, I think November is actually a good time to write a novel–especially if you don’t plan to travel anywhere over the long Thanksgiving weekend. I think I’ll start spurring my subconscious to come up with characters.

[Note: a form of this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog.]

stewing in my subconscious

This update is simply to note that I haven’t written any NaNoWriMo blog entries in a great while. Also, I haven’t worked on the novel since November. It’s stewing. Yeah, that’s it: it’s stewing in my subconscious.

New political developments threaten daily to make the novel obsolete, a problem I will have to tackle when I return to writing.

It also occurs to me that November is a terrible month in which to attempt to write an entire novel. The first and most obvious strike against November is that it only contains 30 days. Second, it contains Thanksgiving—many people travel for Thanksgiving. At the very least, they’re probably spending several hours on Thursday dealing with a large meal, family, friends, or even all three. Third, the beginning of November is almost always the craziest time of year for anyone who participates (beyond simply voting) in this country’s system of electing its representative officials. Even if that represents only a small percentage of the population, it’s still quite significant to them. In contrast, January beats November hands-down for all of the above reasons. It’s 31 days long—the maximum. It doesn’t typically feature an election. Best, it usually contains two holidays (New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Day) that don’t feature quite as much travel as Thanksgiving. (This is not to minimize the importance of Martin Luther King Day, of course.)

[Note: a form of this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog.]

44,968 words in the next 10 hours and 12 minutes

Unless I can write 44,968 words in the next 10 hours and 12 minutes, which I won’t, my NaNoWriMo experience will end in failure.

I haven’t entirely lost interest in finishing this novel. I think NaNoWriMo spurred me to actually start writing and to be excited about it. For many reasons, though, the main one being time (more accurately, my less-than-optimal use of it), I wasn’t able to write 50,000 words this month.

Maybe next year I’ll be in a stable enough situation that 50,000 words in a month is a realistic goal. It just wasn’t, this year.

[Note: this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog.]

fear and sleep: equal culprits

Well, hello. I have written 5,032 words so far. I should have written 18,333 by the end of the 11th. I am merely 8 days behind the projected pace, after 11 days, but am now making an attempt to catch up. That, plus freelance work, will keep these weblog entries brief.

I was pretty burned out after working so hard Saturday and Tuesday on election-related stuff (mostly calling people to get them to vote). I couldn’t really bring myself to open up the Appleworks file and write. Fear and sleep were equal culprits.

This is very typical of me. I’ll probably finish. I can already tell Thanksgiving will be a sprint.

[Note: this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog.]

procrastination has always worked well

Again, I have failed to get to bed at any reasonable hour tonight. Unfortunately, I didn’t even quite keep up with the pace—I’m only at 4105 (out of 5000, where I should be after 3 days). I’ll catch up this week or over the weekend. Or over Thanksgiving weekend, perhaps. Procrastination has always worked well for me. I’m actually giving my subconscious time to stew over the characters and situations I’ve come up with so far, so that I can generate some stunningly original inspirations out of seemingly nowhere in a week or two. That’s it.

[Note: this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog.]

sacrificed a couple hours of sleep

Well, I sacrificed a couple hours of sleep to get back on pace after two days of writing, if only temporarily. I have no plans to write much else today, Sunday, however.

Writing some dialogue on the BART Saturday worked pretty well, in retrospect. I’ll continue to use those moments productively. (Hell, even that’s justification enough to do this.)

[Note: this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog. Additionally, I said “the BART” — ha!]

a little behind the pace

I guess I’m a little behind the pace. Last night I attempted to get back to a normal sleep schedule. That way I’ll be able to spend the mornings working on freelance, and when I get caught up on that, I’ll work a bit on the novel. To be honest, with all the stuff I have scheduled this month, I don’t know if I’m going to want to keep up the 50,000 word pace. It’s not that I’m giving up, but I’m accepting that it might not be realistic. I’ll keep going and maybe do a weekend binge at some point.

[Note: this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog.]

slow going so far

Slow going so far—in five hours, I wrote 1858 words. I’m definitely going to have to pick up the pace to get it all in this month. Several breaks for e-mail slowed me down, as did far too much re-reading and fixing.

On the other hand, I think it shows a reasonable amount of promise.

[Note: this blog entry originally appeared in my November 2002 NaNoWriMo blog, “Notes on the Text.” I’ve now moved all of those entries into the “Imagine a Novel Weblog” category of this blog.]

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