Sunday, 28 November 2010

Slaying the beast

I did it! One full week of very neglectful parenting later I completed Nanowrimo two days early. My first feeling is one of intense relief I can read, watch TV, leave the house (if the snow ever stops falling that is), my second feeling is pride. I have sustained a story and grown characters over the course of an entire novel.
Write for Love was written with a very specific agenda in mind. Over and over during New Voices we were told that Mills n Boon were looking for certain things BUT we had to avoid cliches or at least make our use of them so innovative the cliche felt refreshed and new. My challenge to myself was to incorporate as many of those cliches as possible, try to find new angles for them whilst keeping the focus of the novel solely on the hero and heroine.
The plot is simple, a couple are reunited after a ten year estrangement. He is a high powered exec (cliche), she works for him (c), ten years ago they were madly in love until a misunderstanding forced a bitter estrangement (c), now he has returned to England to find her working in his office (c). He cannot believe that she has deviated from her chosen career path, she is now a regency novelist and she challenges him to write a novel in a month, the prize a weekend with her (C). A visit to her sees him meet with her son, a child he soon realised is his as well (c), can they put side their fear and mistrust and work things out?
Is it any good? Who knows! It is completely repetitive, bits drag, it obviously needs a huge edit and polish. What I don't know because I am far too close to it is it just an interesting exercise in developing a whole story arc and an emotional conflict or does it have potential? I need some external feedback here, anyone interested in reading it can go to it is log in only but send me a permission request and I'll grant it.
Right now I am tired but happy.I owe my husband lots of thanks for picking up all the housework and bedtimes for weeks (although the opportunity to stay up late to watch the Ashes is all the reward he needs), I owe my daughter 30 bedtime stories and a lot of cuddles and most of all thanks New Voices for all your encouragement, understanding and for taking this journey with me. I can't wait to read some of your work and I hope some of you find my little story worth a look.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Labour of Hercules

If the gods had really wanted to defeat Hercules they should have made him a working mother, create a month full of lots of extra curricular activities and then just chuck a writing challenge in on top of it. I guarantee that the archetypal Greek hero would have been curled up in tears within a week begging for a nice monster to slaughter. Nanowrimo it even sounds like a hideous monster doesn't it?
It all started out so well, I thought Nano was a cute little cat, not a sabretoothed tiger, I was even ahead on word count and my story was going well as I toted my baby netbook around, typing happily at the gym, swimming pool, tennis courts. Then came the first weekend, I was child free for 24 hours, it was perfect! Except duty reared its ugly head (duty - an even nastier monster);I had agreed to start assistant cub leader training, it could be done online and the house was quiet - plus reasoned evil monster, Duty, it'll only take a couple of hours, fast forward 5 hours later and not a nano word done, but I knew how to fill in a risk assessment form.
Then came a 3 day conference,I wrote on the train there and felt confident I could catch up BUT my head was soon filled with knowledge that needed processing, there was an evening meal (and wine, lots of wine), more knowledge and a severe lack of sleep. My day off coincided with a teacher training day and my husband's birthday (inconsiderate, we'll need to change the date next year..)and I found myself cleaning, on my day off.
Weekend filled with more evil duty monster, trips to supermarket,a mountain of ironing. And of course there is a child that requires love and attention. Her solution is that I should have another baby then I can write instead of working, almost ingenious as long as the hypothetical baby didn't take after her and slept sometimes.
And it isn't stopping, a meeting Wed night, a social occasion Thurs and Fri, a concert Sat valuable Nano time frittered away on fun, family and friends. It's halfway through, I'm on 14,500 words and I am facing the nasty truth that I might not finish... but it isn't over yet.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Nanowrimo - I have begun...

I've started! And therefore shall hardly blog as for 30 days and 30 nights the fear of not completing my 50,000 words will be consuming me. This is it - can I sustain plot arcs, characters and emotional conflict over more than 3 chapters? TBH I really don't know and I am worried that the plot, which so amused me when I thought of it is far far too slight to carry a novel... plus the world outside writing - child, work etc - is so demanding can I physically manage it? Damn the conference next week which may be great for career developement but is terrible for Nanowrimo taking 3 whole nights away from me and my keyboard.