Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Your 2008: A Novel in 30 Days

(For the third straight year, I've asked a few of my readers and friends to write about their favorite things from this past year. The series continues here with a post by Mrs. White, who blogs at pretty to think so.)

Despite some serious low points (economic meltdown, anyone?) there was still plenty to love about 2008. It provided me with a monumental election, several solid albums, and a handful of treasured books. But 2008 will also go down as the year when I finally lost my mind and committed to achieve a goal I had once thought impossible: I wrote my first novel.

I imagined writing a novel as a task both overwhelming and painful, but there's always been something inside of me -- a masochistic persistence similar to what must drive marathon runners, mountaineers, and lifelong alcoholics -- that needed to give it a shot. So after toying with the idea for ages, I finally decided to stop thinking about it and just do it. At a friend's suggestion, I pledged to participate in National Novel Writing Month, the objective of which is not only to write a novel, but to do so in only thirty days. Such a tight time frame struck me as more than a little bizarre, but it was also the kind of rigid structure I knew I needed if I ever hoped to complete the job.

So, when November 1st arrived, I began. With no particular plot in mind, and armed with only a genre, a vague idea for a character, and all the stubbornness my mama gave me, I forced myself to develop the habit of writing at least 1,700 words of fiction each day. And come November 30th, I had done it. I had written the first draft of my first novel. My first poorly fleshed-out, embarrassingly bad novel. Yay!


And although I'm not sure my sad little story warrants further revision, what I learned from the experience is that I could do it. I'm living proof that as long as you're willing to put delusions of quality aside, writing a novel is an achievable goal. It's also surprisingly rewarding, impressive-sounding, easier than scaling a mountain, less vomit-educing than running a marathon, and far more socially acceptable than becoming an alcoholic. You all want to try it now, I'm sure.


Blogger Barbara Carlson said...

Congratulations!! A stubborn and worthy effort.
Will you post the results? How about the opening chapter?? opening line?

Your achievement funnily enough does not incite me to write a novel...but, funny that, because I did write 450 pages on pocket lint. Took me 2 1/2 years to write a journal of the story of filling an ex-paperclip plastic box with pocket lint requested from hundreds of people: 250 of them strangers. It was an obsession, what can I say.

The Pocket Lint Chronicles. Google me. Don't know what's on page one nowadays, but at one time I had the first 10 entries. I was a media hit.

P.S. It took 600 pieces, including one from Frank Sinatra, posthumously.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Mrs. White said...

Thanks! But no -I have no plans on posting the results, at least not until significant revision. Seriously, she may contain a beginning, a middle, and an end, however alas, she's not very good.

7:22 PM  

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