Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wrap It Up

Nano Rhino Purple

Another November done and gone, another draft on the pile. The Typewriter Brigade was in rare form this year, with more purple winner's bars showing up than year's past. The Office of Letters and Light upgraded their servers this year and the forum software, and not only were there no meltdowns, but we also didn't get our topic split up into multiple chunks like years past. True to form, though, the typewriter people posted the most... and no, it wasn't all just me. We had new faces as well as veterans, plus proud members of the Typewriter Mafia (those without a functional typer) and cheerleaders a-plenty, as the humble Nano Rhino prodded one and all with a motivational horn to the sides. It was a magical time, and in those waning days, as my caffeine addiction reached its horrible peak, I realized that I look forward to November the same way my kids look forward to Christmas, with all the excitement of the good times to come, without fretting about the inevitable cleanup.

Ah, the cleanup. There's no avoiding that, is there? NaNoWriMo 2011 (a.k.a. The Ballad of Congo Willy) will go down in personal history as "the one where I just kept blathering on in circles in the middle of the book." I always try to do something new with each NaNo -- this year was letting go of some of my retentive planning process and just seeing what the characters would do in certain circumstances. And they did some strange, freaky stuff. They lied to each other. They got kicked out of the house. They waxed poetic about the slow pace of life on the byways of central Ohio. They rigged a revenge game of cowpie bingo.  I'm pretty sure they even died. None of this was planned this year: my index cards were essentially a TripTik across the U.S., with a few scenic spots highlighted (and in some cases, entirely bypassed.) So this year's New Thing was: "write from the hip."

Now comes the hard part. After the gifts are all unwrapped and piled up under the tree, and the kids are all banished to their rooms for going stir-crazy, I'll be plopped down on the sofa with a fountain pen in hand, sifting through... something. Maybe this year's draft, or maybe even last year's, which is still unread and in a box in my bedroom. Right now, I need to get a little mental distance from the writing, and think about which story is ready to be wrapped up.


Cameron said...

NaNo was quite the wild ride this year and I thank you heartily for encouraging me to participate.

I plan to do it again next year.

Best of luck cleaning up your novel. It sounds very interesting and I hope to be able to read it someday!

Art said...

Mike, I can't wait to read The Ballad of Congo Willy. From what you've said, and from the blurb you've put on NaNo, it looks awesome. :)

And thanks for the shoutout to the mafia. :)