November 10, 2008

NaNoWriMo Week 2

I kicked off Week 2 of National Novel Writing Month by upending a full hot cup of coffee aross my desk this morning. Luckily, I'd position the printer in such a way that it, rather than the floor, received most of the output.

After cleaning up the mess, I read this week's pep talk letter from the NaNoWriMo folks and was comforted. Last week in my burst of words I'd noticed there were people but no actualy whatcahaycallit -- plot. The letter this morning explained why. The first week of this intensive writing month tends to be given to characters, or, in the much more charming phrase of the letter, crowd control. You gotta get the folks on the page first. That done, questions arise about why these people are here, what they're doing, and where they're headed. Makes sense, yes?

Now that I'm informed, I will ignore this information. I have at least a dozen more characters to introduce and no clear idea about how to get them all into the same place (room, building, town, nation, century). Which is the exciting part, I believe. I expect that if I resolved to manufacture no plot at all -- to spend the month writing a novel that is nothing but all-character all the time -- a plot would nonetheless weave its way into the document somehow. Not necessarily a plot that catches a reader's attention or makes sense or includes an arc or designated change or moves from one place to another but nonetheless a plot -- a semblance of narrative with movement.

I took yesterday off from the computer and went through my 3-month collection of newspaper clippings about coal, water, sewer, endangered species, and threatened species. Any minute now I'll be ready to start posting again on my alternate-universe (that is, wordpress) blog. Stay tuned.

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