In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Positive Thinking and the Impossible

  So, big month coming up, I've entered NaNoWriMo.

  For those who don't know, that's National Novel Writing Month. It started in the USA but is global now, so I suppose it should be called InNoWriMo, but that's even worse. Anyway, it's a challenge to write a novel in one month, November, of at least 50,000 words.

  It's impossible, really. Occasionally a blitz writer might be able to do it, but nobody else: all we mortals can manage is to put together a decent first draft, and go over the edit later. But that's OK, because the point is just to motivate authors into spending time at the writing desk instead of getting distracted all the time. Finding the space to write can be difficult because life keeps getting in the way. NaNoWriMo gives you a reason to push all that aside, just for a month, and get a good chunk of work done instead of just dribs and drabs.

  So I'm doing my Troy story that I mentioned last time. The amount of research and background work has been astonishing: I have dozens of pages of notes now. I also have the basis for how I want to tell the story. Partly that will involve ordinary people, not just the heroes and kings who dominate the Homeric myth. I'm going to add in a chariot builder in Troy, and a painter who came to the city to make his fortune. From Greece there will be a farmer caught up in the war too. All these guys just want to live through it, but they suffer loss and hope as the struggle goes on.

  Can I do 50,000 words in a month? Probably not, and even if I do it won't finish the story: I'll need 80,000 at least, and that's too many. But I'll give it a bash. Besides the discipline, there's another advantage to NaNo, which is the community of writers who are involved. People in the Devon area meet up sometimes in Barnstaple, which I'm looking forward to already. A chance to exchange troubles and triumphs is always good, and we can discuss the relative merits of similes and metaphors over a mug of mocha too.

  Yes, I know, my idea of fun is dreadfully sad.

  At any rate, this means my blogs might come a bit more often in November, as I post updates on how things are going. I have a horrible feeling I may have bitten off more than I can chew here, but we'll see. Positive thinking, that's the trick. Wish me luck!