Can I get a woo hoo? Because after this there will be no more NaNo posts. I'll be going back to my usual stream of consciousness silliness.
Why? Because Nano is done for me. The challenge isn't officially over until December 1, but I finished today and I'm feeling an odd mixture of emotions about it.
For one thing my 50,000 word "novel" is a hot mess….laughing….oh some of it is good. Some of it is better than good and some of it is stunning. But a lot of it is just awful…….and I mean really really awful. And until I add at least another thirty thousand words the story won't be wrapped up. But the challenge is done and I'll be able to shape it into something great at my own speed now.
Working at the speed of NaNo was freeing, but it also left a lot of room for letting the characters run off at the mouth. I found myself typing things that I didn't even know that I THOUGHT let alone that I would let a character say on the page. But they did. Hey they were under the gun so they just said whatever the heck they wanted. And some of my characters had the tendency to be preachy when it came to human rights. They were of course preaching about alien rights, but it all boils down to the same thing in the end.
Summary: An Earthling and a Cirilian are ripped from their respective worlds and wake tethered together on a space ship bound to who knows where. They are pushed beyond reasonable limits by their captors and find that they must cooperate or perish. Over time the two stop trying to kill one another and bond. Unfortunately one of their captors becomes obsessed with the female of the pair and becomes jealous of the very bond that his experiment has created. When he goes mad and violates the safety protocols put in place to protect his race from contamination from the alien captives and tries to enter the sealed enclosure where the captives are being held his lab partner intervenes and is killed in the ensuing struggle. As the struggle takes place the captives take advantage of a door left ajar. They run down a hall and find to their shock that they are not on a spaceship but in some kind of laboratory. They find a door and burst through it into a landscape so alien that it makes them light headed. As alarms sound behind them they know that they must either flee into the dizzying unknown or go back into the cage.
Steeling their minds against the worrying brown sky they rush headlong into the alien night.
I finally found a stream. I put Marcus down on the bank and explored the water to see if it was drinkable. The landscape still made my eyeballs hurt. Dirt is not supposed to be yellow. Sky is not supposed to be burnt umber. And there didn't seem to be any animal life. Not even insects flitting around the water. I didn't know how to test the water other than tasting it, so I cupped my hand and brought some to my lips.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
I looked around and didn't see anyone, but I wasn't foolhardy enough to drink something after a disembodied voice had warned me not to. I've read plenty of fiction in my life and I understand the concept of portent.
I told some friends that the two biggest jumps in my word count were 1) when I woke up one morning and was suddenly channeling Gene Roddenberry [it makes me giddy with delight that spell check knows how to spell Roddenberry] and 2) when I let the captives loose on the planet surface.
When I started channeling Roddenberry and truth be told also Rod Serling….. [damn spell check doesn't know how to spell Serling….that's a major oversight] I started shaping the moral character of the beings populating the worlds I was playing on. And once that happened, hey I had a lot to write about. And it's interesting how easy it is to show moral fiber. You don't have to just drone on and on. It was amazing to me how you can get an absolute feel for a character in just a few lines. And since I've been writing very short fiction for a while, there are places that I fit whole universes into five or six hundred words.
[Which just killed me since this whole thing is about word count]
When I let the captives loose on the planet it opened up the story so much for me because I could introduce new characters and a whole new civilization into the mix. Oh and once I introduced Crenna, an evil rogue alien who was supposed to be dead, oh….what fun.
Four really great things that came of doing this insane challenge were 1) I met a bunch of nice new people 2) I now possess whole chapters that I can polish and use as stand alone pieces 3) while I was working on the challenge I got a bunch of new ideas for flash pieces and wrote them as well and 4)I found out that the sci fi pool is a lot of fun to play in.
So some of it was fun, a lot of it was productive, and it definitely pumped up my creativity.
But would I do NaNo again?
NO. Absolutely not.
I think that Chris Baty is an awesome person and the whole idea of Nanowrimo is a great one, especially the involvement of young writers and the boost to get people to let go of the idea of "some day" and grab hold of the idea of "now or never"……. but only a young single guy would put something this rigorous at the beginning of the holiday season.
I want to start a movement to change NaNo to March. March would be good. March is the dead of winter and there aren't a lot of other things going on in March.
Ok, here's where I shout "WHO'S WITH ME?" and we all swarm out into the street chanting change NaNo to March! ……
But in this case let's swarm out to a coffee shop, I could really use some caffeine and a big slice of chocolate cake…….
Oh, and woo hoo! I'm done.
[now I need a nap]
[but someone please buy me the cake first, ok?]
Here's a link to Anton Gully's story "Divine Rage" regarding NaNo.... it's hilarious..... and succinct.