I feel I have been reduced to a heap of literary rubble now that I am an official “WINNER” of this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For thirty days in a row I have poured out pages upon pages of mostly bad writing—at times so bad that (against NaNoWriMo’s unwritten code of ethics), I actually had to delete parts out of sheer horror that I could, God forbid, die before month’s end and have some morbidly curious critic read my puke-prose and publicize that I was indeed the worst writer of the 21st century. Truth be told, I have roughly 43,000 words of coherent story telling, followed by a 7,000-word hodgepodge of ruminations and stage directions.
The good news? I am well on my way with a story that one month ago had seemed larger than life.
The bad news? The story is larger than life. I have long line to tow before it ever winds up on a winner’s block.
Near the end of the month, I noticed I was walking about in a cross-eyed stupor of sorts, randomly asking random people, let’s say at soccer games or in grocery lines, if they knew anything about Romanian twin-engine bomber planes or what exactly was Turkish Delight. By Thanksgiving weekend, I was obsessing over whether or not there were flushing toilets by 1944 in Ankara, Turkey. And where exactly is Ankara, Turkey? Well, I now know that it’s about an hour and a half from Istanbul, which is a precarious little piece of property that is both Europe and Asia.
The highlight of the month came last week when I was in such a hurry to get my main character, Lucia, out of the Turkish taxi and into the house she had exiled to that I literally forgot her two year-old son, Ioan, in the back seat—after the taxi drove off! I decided to work that into the story, and it not only piqued the tension, but it boosted my word count by an extra thousand.
Tonight I have harvested a sampling of sentences gleaned from a quick scanning over my newest field of words…
1st Place Best:
Ten years ago, Mircika used this workplace to assemble his invention of the machine gun turret—to Lucia, it was a chair basically that could turn in every direction with a vigorous set of bullets all lined up and poised to throw men into their pre-ordained body bags.
2nd Place Best:
Pawns may not sleep, her mind whispered, but queens do.
3rd Place Best:
After all, she reasoned, a secret is no longer a secret, even if told to a husband.
1st Place Worst:
She hadn’t eaten herself and wasn’t planning to either.
2nd Place Worst:
The rain had ceased and the sun was struggling to expose itself.
3rd Place Worst:
The hand flusher was the envy of many of their friends who were still wrestling with the bucket dumper thing.
She turned on the hot water and let it pour down onto her head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes…eyes and ears and mouth and nose.
So there it is…the best and worst of a month long written marathon. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s statistical post on the 119 novels that I will have collected from my equally exhausted 8th graders!