I’ve been a bit silent around these parts for most of November. In fact, I’ve been a bit close to silence on any of my social media platforms that require any amount of thought. It’s easy enough to Tweet and to make status posts on Facebook (and to respond to tweets and wall posts on same) while I’m doing other things … but it’s hard to concentrate on making word-count for National Novel Writing Month and also write book reviews, tv episode reviews, or even just general “here’s where I am in life” blog posts at the same time. At the end of the Daye Jobbe (whether I’m on the road and slinking back to a hotel room, or back in NJ at the office and driving home to my apartment), there’s only so much time left in the day for creative pursuits, and I have been choosing to spend most of that precious time working on the novel.
I am officially what the NaNo folks call a “rebel,” using the NaNo word-count not to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch but rather (at least in my case) to make progress on / finally finish an existing work. The mystery/thriller that is tentatively titled AMBERGRIN HALL has been the love of my writing life and the thorn in its side.
The whole concept started as a writing exercise one night back in 1993, sitting on the Elmira College campus, staring at one of the oldest and most un-used buildings and just writing what felt right. That 2,000-or-so word snippet went into the “binder of lost ideas” until I was faced with having to pull something together to submit to my local writers’ group and found I had nothing really new to submit. This was in … 1998, I believe. So I pulled the “Ambergrin Hall” snippet out, polished it slightly, submitted it … and two weeks later was told by the majority of the group that if I didn’t finish the story, they’d kill me.
Honestly, I’m amazed I’m still alive. More than 10 years later, the book still isn’t done, although I won NaNo in 2007 by adding 50,ooo words to it.
So I’m making an effort. Garrett, Ezra, Thaniel, Dylan, Paddy, Dean D’Oro, Professor Quentin and especially poor Lisette, whose death kicks the whole thing off … they deserve an ending to their story. It’s taken me most of the month (and a frighteningly behind-the-pace word-count) to find their voices again, but I think this weekend I’ve clicked on it. And the same time, I’m also a bit sick of it. I tweeted earlier tonight that I feel like I’m at the point where I’m writing just to get to the end because I want the story to be over and be able to move on to something else. I love these characters, but I’m almost hating the process right now.
So that’s how NaNoWriMo is progressing for me this year. Slow, behind the pace, pushing my way through. As I’ve dubbed a few of us in our Northwest NJ region this year: I am feeling even more like a Rebel Without A Clause.