Saturday, October 19, 2013


Autumn has arrived and with it my annual bout of guilt regarding NaNoWriMo, wherein one promises publicly that they will write at least fifty thousand words in a month. This is supposed to simultaneously   spark one's creativity and eliminate one's internal editor from restricting the flow of words.  Perhaps some who engage in this masturbatory bout of self-abasement manage to create the beginnings of a novel or even finish one.  However, for many, the results are to fall far short of the goal, only to look back and wonder what they were thinking to produce such a stream of drivel that now must be edited again and again before it even achieves mediocracy, much less literary acceptance. I annually fall into this category.

For me NaNoWriMo is an annual call to return to that long novel I have been "writing" for three years. The work now stands at just over 50k edited words with but one third of the story told.  The remaining two thirds of the tale exists as a detailed outline,research material, character sketches and miscellaneous plans for the unfolding of the longer, tripartite epic.  It is daunting to look at the work and feel guilty that I have not fulfilled the promise of that piece but have written an equal amount of other words and even sold some of them.

What holds me back from completing the novel is that I am, at base, an impatient short story writer (who also suffers from PSS.)   I am constantly aware that fifty thousand words is equal to the amount needed to draft  ten short stories, six novelettes, or six novellas - all of which scream to be written NOW and not when the arduous work of writing the novel's middle sections will stretch my patience to its limits.

I always yearn to be finished.   Every time I start writing on the novel other ideas pop into my head - scenes, snatches of dialogue, plots, and even settings, although that is not my long suit.  Humor also raises its ugly head at inappropriate times, drains the drama, and is usually is too funny to ignore.

So I set my loins, determined to write the novel, maybe dash off a short story or two when I need  a break, and, when the New Year dawns I will still be staring at my unfinished novel.  At that point, if history is any guide, I will vow to finish the damned thing -  that is, unless a few short story ideas pop up to distract me.



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