I’m not even to the half-way point of the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo and I have two days left to “finish.” Two days. Thirty thousand words. Not gonna happen. And that’s okay.
I figured something out today: My protagonist must lose her legs. Not as in her current fractured status, which, although painful, basically equates to misplacing keys or dropping a mint and having it roll under the sofa, just out of reach. Her current situation is merely inconvenient, not life-transforming, and it certainly doesn’t make you care deeper for her and root for her self-salvation. I have to raise the stakes and create a fire where there now resides coal.
Sarah, my lovely yet boring protagonist, I’m sorry that you will go through hell, but your legs must be severed and utterly unsalvageable for there to be a deeper meaning hidden in the story you tell to your art student. What was that you said? You engage in the actual practice of painting, not teach it? Tsk, tsk, tsk… Did I detect a hint of contempt in your voice? Don’t look down upon teaching, snooty one. That’s like looking down upon a poor soul who needs food stamps and then losing your own job the next day, thus needing assistance. (On a side note, I never saw this side of you a month ago. I was in too great a hurry to get the ball rolling.)
I’m recreating your world at this very moment, Sarah- a world in which you are safe, privileged and apparently narcissistic- and then I’m going to destroy it just so we can see the substance that spins your core. Will the girl you once were resurface or will you deteriorate into a bitter pill of a woman? What are you going to do when you lose it all? When you discover your husband is a cheating liar who impregnated his young secretary? When you realize that never again will you feel the cushion of green grass beneath your feet or grains of sand between your toes? Will you fall apart? Will you let resentment eat away at your soul? Will it be possible for you to regain control and rise above all the bullshit he put you through? Will you find a way to kick ass again, even without your legs? If so, how?
Now we’re having some fun. My characters’ true natures are now beginning to emerge and the plot is becoming something I’d want to read. Still needs more time to cook though.
I might not have met the NaNo goal of 50,000 words, but I met mine: I wrote every single day. My singular goal was to cultivate a solid writing habit. I used NaNo as a tool to get my butt in the chair and write, which I believe is its intended purpose. I also discovered that, for myself, I can’t wake up one morning and start writing just to write- just to meet a word count number. I have to plan. I have to let my characters swim around in my head until they grow legs and evolve out of the muck. The plot needs to simmer for a while and thicken into a hearty mix of mishaps and delight. I have to develop an outline of sorts so that I can feel free to delve into the details without worrying about straying too far off base. I need the voices to shout at me and demand to be heard. Whimpers do not push my brain into writing mode.
At any rate, I won.
Anyone who tells me otherwise can kiss it.