Monday, January 18, 2010

Comedy, love, and a bit with a dog

The dreaded task of outlining the novel has begun. Normal writers outline before they start writing. Of course this requires actually having plot ahead of time. Not one to be stymied by such trifles, I simply started writing, and continued until I reached a point where 'the end' seemed to fit.
Yesterday, I managed to apply 'who and what' to three whole pages. Once the chapter and scene notes are made in the margins, they'll be transferred to index cards for 'easier' outlining and rewriting. Uh huh.
Today went like this:
I sit down to work.
I stare at the giant stack of paper and sigh.
Page 3 - I remember I still have pralines that Bevin brought back from New Orleans.
I cheer up, and start making notes.
Page 7 - I am out of pralines.
Page 19 - it suddenly occurs to me that the spice cabinet is disorganized and needs to be straightened at once. No. No it doesn't, I tell myself.
Page 34 - I start thinking about Avatar and how I'd like to get Na'vi citizenship and that there were qualities in the film that inspire parts of the novel. I wonder if James Cameron would direct the movie version. I remind myself that the book has to be written before we move on to its afterlife.
Page 53 - it suddenly becomes very important to know exactly how many days the novel has been in existence. I stop channelling Rainman and get back to work.
Page 77 - my dog pushes her nose into my leg and looks pathetic. I get up to let her outside. She stands in the doorway, looks around and comes back inside.
Page 89 - I realize that I might make it to page 100 before I go to class.
Page 90 - I remember Joseph Fiennes's inkstained fingers in Shakespeare in Love. I think that right now, my novel is in about the same place as Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter: barely written and subject to drastic changes.
Page 101 - I decide it's a good time to stop, as it's about time to go to class. I look at my giant wreck of a manuscript, all disjointed and chaotic, full of dreck and bad grammar and plot holes and the cries of voices demanding that their stories be told. For reasons I can't comprehend, I love this montrous creation.
I have no idea how this is going to come together. I console myself with the following words of widsom, loosely adapted from Shakespeare in Love:

Novel writing's natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
So what do we do?
Nothing. Strangely enough, it all ends well.
How ?
I don't know. It's a mystery.

79. That's how many.


Jenn said...

I remind myself that the book has to be written before we move on to its afterlife

So in touch with this :-) You are way further along than me, kudos! I started writing with no outline or anything either but as I wrote I started to develop characters, a book time line & their life timelines in a separate notebook. It made a HUGE difference when I started editing. You won't regret those notecards. Is that the 79?

pastrywitch said...

No, 79 days of existence...Rainman took over for a minute.
My next nano, I'm keeping notes as I go, like you did. It's all learn as I go.

SisterMoon13 said...

Sometimes in the mundane of the miracle, we forget how miraculous the miracle is. I just made that up. It came as I was thinking about that huge stack of paper that just a few months ago didn't exist. :)

ginger said...

you're funny...really funny. the next novel is a comedy.