Hiya! Sorry about that. Yeah, I know the blog’s gone kind of quiet lately. Since Christmas morning, in fact, right. I’ve been, um, distracted. Well, not distracted – I think “preoccupied” is a better word. But I can explain.
Well, a funny thing happened at the end of December. I challenged another writer I knew (she will, ahem, remain nameless) to write a short story, given only a title (“A Brief History of Time Travel”) and a first line (“Okay, so it’s… complicated.” – a riff off of our favorite Dr. Who episode). Early January, I started harassing her about not making progress on it, and upped the challenge into a competition: *I’d* also write my own version of the story, and we’d compare when we were done. It was a calculated bet – I knew she couldn’t pass up another opportunity to kick my literary butt.
So I launched in, taunting her with daily word counts. Next thing I knew, I was up to 6,000 words, and I hadn’t actually settled yet on what was going to happen in the story. Wasn’t looking so “brief” any more. The second week of January, when MS Word told me I was at 10,000 words, I knew I had crossed the Rubicon. I pulled out my unloved copy of “No Plot, No Problem” (Chris Baty’s NaNoWriMo bible), and nailed down my own set of rules.
- I would write at least 1,000 words each day on this story.
- They would be complete crap. It didn’t matter.
- I would silence my inner editor, I would not second guess myself and edit anything I had written before. If by some fluke of finger-keyboard contact, I had my protagonist materialize at a baby shower wearing top hat and a purple emu, so be it. I would go forward making the plot conform to the event. (Don’t worry, he didn’t)
- I would not stop until I had crossed the 50,000 word mark – Baty’s nominal threshold for successfully finishing NaNoWriMo.
- Ready? Go!
Okay, so now it’s 48 days later. Late last night, while Devon and the kids were glaring at me for not turning off the damned light, I hit a word count of 51,232 words, the last two of which were “The End”. I’m done.
I’d actually crossed 50,000 a few hours earlier, as the plane (the real plane I was riding in, not the one in the story) was coming in for landing in Florida, but I had an unresolved purple emu issue to deal with, and had to spend another 1230 words sorting it out. But I did and it is. Whew. PaNoWri2Mo 2012 is complete, and there won’t be a 2013 edition.
Wait – now, before you ask: No. No, you can’t read it. Remember Rule #2? It’s crap – it’s a really really really bad story and if I even let my inner editor out of the box to go back and try to fix it, he’s going to have a nervous breakdown of epic proportions. So no – you can’t read it. Really. No one gets to read it. Ever. Not even the unnamed author who I originally taunted with the challenge (unless, perhaps, she buckles under and writes her own version of the challenge. In that case, I guess I’d have to let her read it, right?) (Ouch, I can feel the angry daggers from here).
Really – trust me: it’s a crappy bunch of writing. But the good news, for all of us, is that it’s done. And in the spirit of Bre Pettis’ “Done Manifesto”: done is the engine of more. Which means I can finally, finally start writing about other stuff again. Which is good, because there’s a lot of stuff happening. I’ll tell you more soon – I promise.
(In unrelated news, the little counter in the MS Word doc I use to draft my Roadtrip posts tells me that I’ve just crossed 50,000 words since I’d opened this current scratch document, back in Pittsburgh last year. I may be going to Pittsburgh on Monday. Not sure yet, but that’s another story)