Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 3

As I said, I have decided to try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)again this year. To write a novel, of any kind, no editing, just get the words down. 50,000 of them. By the end of November, no later.

Tough call for November, one of the busy months of the year. Birthdays, run up to Christmas, lots of eBay packing. Still it is ok to add to my pressure, and the fun of writing should carry me through.

So a week ago I started trying to think of a plot. Nothing would come. Like, nothing at all. You can't start to outline a book without any semblance of a plot.

Then suddenly, it was Sunday, it was November 1st and Nano was on me like a pile of wet snow. What to do? All Sunday I angst about it. I cooked a special birthday dinner, still angsting. In the end I decided to just sit down at the computer and let it run. Get some words down and see where it would lead.

I wrote:

"Most people seem to like to start at the beginning of a story. Me? I turn to the end, see what happens there, and then work my way through the book to find out what made it happen. "

So far so good. And then I thought... what about writing a book about me... not my life, not what is happening to me, but about me as a person, my thoughts and attitudes to life? And so to concoct a fairystory about me. So that is what my book is about. It is My Other Life.

Day three today, and I have realised that the first bit is rather sparse. Never mind, week three and four are for padding it out I reckon. This week is to write from the seat of my pants and get the semblance of a plot down. Three peaks, three troughs. A beginning, a middle, and an end. That is my aim for this week.

Fancy a bit more of My Other Life?

Here you are:

Most people seem to like to start at the beginning of a story. Me? I turn to the end, see what happens there, and then work my way through the book to find out what made it happen. I feel really twitchy if I don’t know how things are going to finish up.

I like to know what makes things tick.

I was the kind of kid who took clocks apart to see what made them tick. You know the type? The geeky one, who sat in the library reading books while everyone else was out in the sun playing kiss chase.

So I like my life to be nice and ordered. Neat and contained. All the edges defined.

Be good if it stayed that way for longer than six minutes.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like my life really. I have a great job, a pretty flat in a nice part of town, a tight bunch of friends I can call on for rest and relaxation. I have a cat. But..

What’s it all about? Oh, I know, Alfie didn’t know either. But I want to know… god damn it, I need to know. What am I going to end up being in this life? Can I rely on a career to take me interesting places and fill in the spaces of my life that way? Will I be a spinster with my cat by my side? Will I be an unruly madwoman when I get to my 80s?

I ask these questions because I am missing that one little segment in my happy orange.. I am unattached with no one in sight.

I was sitting in a bar the other night with my friend Anna.

“where are all the good men…” I droned

“what do you want a good man for? Get yourself a bad one! “

“where are all the bad men then…” I droned again

“over there where the grass is greener. Get a grip girl!”

I love Anna. But don’t go there for tea and sympathy.

“you’re all right.. you’ve got your man”

“yes. Havent I just..”

Smug little bitch. Anna is happily ensconced in a large garden flat in Islington with a suavely goodlooking capstan of industry. Needless to say the cheaps counter at Sainsbury’s is not on her daily check list.

“don’t be such a smart arse. Nobody loves a smart arse”

“Martin does.” She said in her smart arse voice.

“Martin can pay for the next round then…”

Two margaritas later, we decided that Martin could pay for a little snack too. Garlicky prawns. Mmm. Well I had no plans for kissing any one, so a bit of indulgence wasn’t going to go amiss.

“you know, there are plenty of good men around, Asti – you just aren’t looking very hard. Where are you looking?”

I sighed. I really didn’t feel that I should have to look very hard. Love was supposed to happen. Just like that. If you had to go looking it made for a desperation that was less than attractive in a person.

“work… around…oh, I don’t know. I don’t want to go out searching for lurve… you know what I mean?”

Anna gave me a waspish look.

“ well your knight in shining armour is not likely to come searching for you on the tube to Oxford Circus, is he?”

Now that wasn’t fair. She had after all met Martin the Wonder Dog at the fireworks counter at Sainsbury’s last Guy Fawkes night. She really had no right to tick me off about not joining every internet dating site on Google.

“How’s Martin’s Roman Candle these days then?” I said, haughtily.

Anna snickered.

“Damn fine, let me tell you….”


  1. Some good snappy dialogue here and I really like the concept of starting from your own life and then just letting your imagination go.

  2. You've certainly pulled me in, so I'd say you're off to a great start!

  3. thanks both! tomorrow you get some of last years one...just in case I don't get to write anything tonight! OOPs!

    Jayne - are you joining us? Please say yes, I love your prose, so I want to see what your fiction would be like.. what if I beg? Steal? Borrow?

    oh, sorry, wrong song....