Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Magic

Well, it happened this morning. The first morning when I hit the alarm button a couple of times, and actually resented getting up at some ludicrous hour to write terrible fiction.

This is what morning looks like

This was taken at the end of the session, just before my kids woke up. I started at 5:30, and I've been starting at 5:00 since Monday. Needless to say, I'm very much looking forward to the time change this weekend. It's far too dark to warrant getting out of bed, much less getting up to attempt to string together a contiguous storyline. But it's also one of the few times of day when I'm truly left alone -- since all sane people are still abed -- and so I take advantage of the quiet and solitude to work. (Since starting this post, for example, I have made two breakfasts, fed and let out the dog, defused a tantrum, and watched a parade of plastic dinosaurs and cows.)

Reluctance is part of the NaNo game, of course, and much as I try to suppress the Inner Editor, he is known to perch on my shoulder and make murky comments in my ear while I'm trying to work.

"This is crap."

"Why didn't you figure out the character names in advance? My God, this is lame."

"You got us up for this?"

Sadly for the Inner E, I don't hear so well at 5:00 AM, so most of these complaints go unheeded. And during my lunchtime writing sessions at work, the coffee-cart guy has Fox news turned up too loud on his TV, which I've found to be an effective drone to dispel all rational thought. NaNoWriMo thrives in pockets of irrationality, and in the very heart of those pockets lies magic.

Magic Margin

Around the same time that the Inner E wants to start smacking "snooze", the Muse also starts kicking in. For me, writing is best tackled at regular times: I think it fools my brain into being creative, because, hey, we're sitting at that damn typewriter again and we're not getting up, might as well write. And it's in those oh-what-the-hell-just-move-those-fingers moments that the unexpected starts to creep in. The characters start talking to each other and reveal Big Personal Secrets. Scenes I had not anticipated appear, and the story is better for them. User "munk" on the Typewriter Brigade topic compared the feeling to a silvery thread connecting the subconscious to the typewriter. Yeah, I totally get that. It's the magic.

There was an anti-NaNo article on Salon lately, and then an anti-anti-NaNo article in the LA Times blog. You can search them down if you like, but it's the same arguments and defenses that have been trotted out every year, and I feel like it boils down to a slobs versus snobs distinction. I don't listen to the argument much, though I do savor some of the more nasty comments from both sides. I know the self-imposed suffering of writing regimen will end in three weeks, and I know that what I'm writing is not High Art. But gives me a chance get in touch with the magic, and that feeling makes it worthwhile.

But even more when we turn the clocks back.

1 comment:

Ted said...

It's the Journey, not the Destination - just like your plot. You fill the pages with the "getting there", then spend two pages on the "got there".

The natter over the quality of the result from Nano properly deserves but two pages, IMHO. :D