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National Novel Writing Month 2009: Week 1 November 12, 2009

Posted by ashiah in Books.

nano_08_winner_smallSo the annual month-long writing exercise began on November 1. My procrastination this year is so bad it’s not even funny. While last year was an often frustrating yet interesting writing experience, this year is just pure pain. Horrible, horrible pain. Just looking at my novel sends me into fists of rage. I hate it ever so much.

Not to say last year’s Nano novel was any better. 2008’s Millie and I was a bizarre comedy/surrealist novel that had literally, like, five plots. But what was most rewarding about the whole experience was that I taught myself there was no such thing as writer’s block. “Writer’s block” is just an excuse for lazy, procrastinating writers who don’t know how to sit still for an hour and just WRITE without thinking. I was able to accomplish this during last year’s Nano. Although the novel was far from publishable, it did have tiny morsels of brilliance in it that made me smile when I went back and reread it months later.

But this year? For some reason I’m not doing it right. I keep telling myself to stop thinking, to stop worrying about plot holes, and to stop worrying about making everything neat. But my brain won’t listen to me. So now I have an incredibly neat novel that is incredibly boring. Meet Untitled Nano Novel 2009:

Plot (Is subject to change): Lisa is an uptight, humorless recent grad who has a bunch of degrees under her belt but no job. Desperate, she starts applying for crappy jobs at big coffee chains until she meets a strange man who tells her she has a personality malfunction. He tells her she’s too normal and boring and that he runs a business that will help change her, which will better her life somehow. She and her best friend Jillian make appointments with the stranger.

Excerpt: (Nothing particularly special about this excerpt, but it does have the least amount of typos and grammar mistakes.)

“What?” a voice shouted out from behind the door.

“It’s me. Lisa.”

There was a brief pause before the door swiftly swung open. A little yappy dog ran out and started to run around Lisa’s feet.

“Damn it, Skittles, get back in here,” said a voice. Seconds later a frizzy blond hair girl emerged wearing a leopard print bathrobe. Her makeup was still smeared on from the night before. She leaned against the door frame and kicked the dog aside with her hosed foot. “Hey,” she said with her smoker’s voice. “What’s going on with you, Tighty?”

“Tighty” was the nickname she had for Lisa, which was supposed to be short for “uptight.” This nickname infuriated Lisa, but mostly because she found it neither funny nor clever.

“Things are fine,” Lisa hesitated. “Hey, I’m going to a party tonight. I was wondering if you had anything that I could borrow?”

The blonde neighbor shifted feet. “Well, what are you looking for?”

“Well…” Lisa eyed her neighbor’s gaudy leopard bathrobe and started to regret asking for help. What if her neighbor hands her something really sleazy, she thought. “I guess I just need a nice top and a skirt.”

The neighbor stared off into the distance for a second, silently going through her mental inventory of trashy clothes before inviting Lisa in.

Lisa carefully stepped into the apartment and closed the door as quietly as possible. This wasn’t her first time being inside her neighbor’s apartment, and the place always looked a mess. But this particular time it looked as if her neighbor had company over. Plates and empty cups and wine bottles covered the kitchen counter. As they walked through the living room, Lisa saw a man sleeping face down on the couch. Yolanda always seemed to have strange men over all the time. Ever the judgmental type, Lisa peered at the sleeping man and shuddered.

Worst sentence (so far): Keep in mind, one of the rules of Nano is that you do NOT self-edit. This is like torture for any writer. Without edits, you end up with gems like these:

She was feeling momentarily relieved but also a sense of worry.

A SENSE OF WORRY?? *beats self with a thesaurus*

Overall score for the week: F-

Hopefully things will go better this week. Of course I’m already 10,000 words behind. Not to mention it’s now the middle of Week 2, and I have yet to write anything.



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