NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It begins, for the fifteenth consecutive year on November 1st and officially ends at midnight on November 30th:
I just signed up. Which means that starting November 1st I will have thirty days to write a 50,000 word novel.
So, I’m not completely sure what I was thinking. I haven’t even written a blog post for over a month and my posts are usually only 1-2000 words, which often takes five or six hours to complete. I’m pretty sure I don’t have five to six hours to write the 1666.67 words required EVERYDAY to complete the challenge. My excuses are typical: job/kids/sleep. Who has time for more than that?
Plus. I’m not a fiction writer.
Though I AM the queen of great fictional starts. I have hundreds and hundreds of beginnings of stories with wonderful potential and good intentions.
Diamond Thayer is the first of many characters I abandoned on the page. I so loved that woman (still do). She could have done spectacular things!
Were I a finisher.
Diamond came about in the same manner most of my fictional characters have entered the world: through a deep need to re-write my own reality into something more satisfying than what really happened. Just before I invented Diamond, I had fallen “in love” at the age of fifteen with the son of one of my dad’s good friends. His son was twenty one and the most gorgeous man I had ever met. And of course he was not even remotely interested in an awkward, shy teenager who had not quite made the journey from chubby girl to curvy woman. Don, my dad’s friend (and my unofficial GodFather) was family to me. I think he secretly always wanted a daughter. That Christmas Don had bought me my first snow skis and took me to his cabin for a weekend to teach me how to ski on the mountain twenty minutes away. This is when I met his son Pat, who was also staying for a few days to go skiing while he was on break from college. We probably spoke a total of three sentences to each other the whole weekend, he from trying to be polite but not quite pulling it off due to total lack of interest and me from complete teenage girl, tongue tied twitterpation. But despite the lack of good conversation, I fell madly in love with him. Like fifteen year old girls all over the world do in their heads hundreds of times before they know what real love feels like.
I can remember laying on the fold out couch bed in the living room of the cabin that first night, completely exhausted, my body aching and tired from a day of falling off chair lifts and tumbling face over ass down the mountain but SLEEPLESS because the man of my dreams was sleeping in the room twenty steps away from my lumpy bed. I made up all kinds of scenarios in my head, all of which involved him creatively declaring that he had fallen madly in love with me and could not go on another moment sitting in his room with the door shut. He had to be near me: the chemistry was just too strong.
Well of course none of these scenarios happened but I remember returning home so pent up with thoughts of love and romance and intense words that I HAD to find a way to make it happen the way I wanted it to.
Enter Diamond Thayer: twenty years old, beautiful, thin, smart, funny and completely NOT interested in the man who would eventually, with great frustration and struggle, WIN HER OVER in the most spectacular way possible.
Which I never let him do.
Sixty two pages of front to back handwritten words lead right up to the point where Diamond Thayer has decided she hates Michael Patrick Thompson with all her heart and the story ends, mid sentence. I left poor Diamond in an eternal state of pissedoffedness and poor Michael in a perplexed place of “What the F did I do?’. All because I fell “in love” with a different boy and no longer felt the need to create a happy ending for Diamond.
It’s terrible what I have done to all of my poor characters over the years: bringing them into to the world for my own selfish comfort, giving them purpose, loving them, giving them a voice and then leaving them on the page without any kind of closure, like abandoned children.
This is why I signed up for the NaNoWriMo Challenge. I need to experience what it feels to start and then FINISH a story. At this point, I can’t be concerned if it’s a good story. I simply need to prove to myself I can actually do it.
For the last three or four years I have had the title floating around in my head:
“When You Sing at the Table”.
It’s time to write the rest.
All I know right now is that I think it will be a humorous romance with strong tribute to my mother, who warned me all the time about what would happen to me for singing at the table, which I still do. I think maybe my main character will too. But the rest? It will be complete fiction.
Which I don’t know how to write.