Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaNoWriMo - (-30-)

As a journalism/mass communications student, I learned the story of -30-. It signifies the end of the story. One journalists, upon finding out he had cancer or a brain tumor or looming bankruptcy (the tale changes, depending on the source), wrote his goodbye and - rather than signing it - ended it with -30-.

Most public relations pros and journalists use ### now, but it does not hold the allure of -30-, the story told by the dreamy college professor whose face was lit by an overhead projector as he told the silent class in cool, clipped words. It took years for me to adapt to the ### format. My brain and heart do not adapt as quickly.

NaNoWriMo is being -30-ed. My story there has ended. Under the pressure of an avalanche of words, I cannot focus on my story. Last year, when I had no real sense of my novel, it was a fantastic experience where I could play and smear things on the walls with no sense of reprisal or fear. This year, I know my story. I know my characters... in some cases, better than I know my friends. In pushing for word counts, I found myself creating unlikely scenarios for these characters, and the waste of it made me sick to my stomach.

So, I tried to shock my system in another manner. My greatest vanity (highly encouraged by my husband and sons) is my long, blondish hair. It hits the back of my shoulder blades, perfect for a child to stroke or my man to grab and pull me down for a kiss. My youngest would play barber and brush my hair, but even then he would not pretend to cut it.

I colored it red... dark auburn cherry fire red. The color of my heroine's hair, the color that let her be known to her soldiers during battle.

Because, after all, I am fighting a battle of my own. I am writing the novel, after playing with its sister-screenplay for almost eight years. Typing instead of swinging swords, the clatter of keys instead of the clang of metal. But I am going to finish it, and my beloved Celtic queen will finally be released from our strange, intimate bond.


Maggie May said...

yes yes you can do it!

Kristin Dodge said...

... and when I finish, I will put -30-... just until I send it out into the wide world.

Jason said...

I wrote 419 words on day one, because I was really busy.

Then I got busier.

I finished the month with 419 words.

Kelly said...

Thanks for this post! It's good to know the situations where NaNo isn't a good fit for trying to get a first draft written.

You will finish regardless!

Kelly from