Life After Nano

Saturday, December 01, 2007
By Sally Franklin Christie

Hello again, this time I am back in the real world, real time, real emergencies, real distractions, you get the idea.

November is National Novel Writing Month. Some groups have been referring to the event, competition, madness as WriMo or NaNoWriMo, I prefer Nano. In case you want to plan on participating next year, the rules of the game are easy, write 50,000 words during the month of November. Sign up at the official site, in October and begin on the first day of November.

On the 25th of November I wrote my way across the finish line and tied up my plots and subplots. This entitled me to a winner’s logo and a certificate to print and frame.

I’ve gotten off the wild nano ride on Sunday and have had several days to reflect on those word filled sessions. I miss being able to put on the nano hat, my family was so cooperative when I wore the hat. The symbol of immunity doesn’t work anymore.

I have to put away the habit I developed during nano of taking a lot of words to say what can be better done with one or two. Brevity has always been my long suit, it won’t take long to reclaim it. I can combine words and hyphenate again. I can use single names for characters and look for just the right combination of dialogue and direction.

I had my internal editor locked up for a month. I let her out early when I uploaded my nano words to the official word counter on Sunday evening. She seems to be a little stiff, reluctant, and I think she is holding a grudge.

There is a bit of sadness, I think the creators of nano need to offer a post nano support group. It is back to leisurely writing and picking up projects that have been on hold for a month. This is no easy task. The cool file names I gave my revisions so I’d know this was the latest and greatest work are not as cool and self explanatory as I thought. My volunteer duties at WOW! are slowly stacking up again and I need to complete my final assignment for my Novel Course with Long Ridge Writer’s Group.

The biggest surprise was my ability to write every day for twenty five days, sometimes lost in plots and sub plots, resisting the urge to research embezzlement tactics and the workings of a crazy mind, and my willingness to refuse to go back and find out what I really named the guy I came to refer to as Jay Johnson, formerly known as James True who is now someone else. I still don’t know his name. I did not go back to fix run on sentences like the one I just wrote. I tried fixing the spelling, but that loosened the chains and my internal editor almost got loose, so I left the spelling as it was.

After Nano, I printed the certificate, framed it, and my darling husband nailed it to the wall. Then I printed the manuscript, bad spelling and all. I did not know how long it took to print 200 badly written pages. It sits in a stack because I can’t find a box for it.

Will I do this next year? Will I revise and expand the wild story? Will I ever submit it for publication? The answer to all is maybe.

To those of you who missed the mark, who had real life issues so pressing that nano became impossible, try next year. Make a hat, turn your phones off and like the shoe company says, ‘just do it.’ To those of you considering the ride next time it comes to town, don’t plan, and like the shoe company says, ‘just do it.’ Sounds over simplified, but that is exactly what I did.

The last title I chose for my work was IF I SHOULD DIE BEFORE I WAKE. A young widowed woman came to town six months ago, got her dream job and rented an apartment that included a cat. One morning she awoke with a strange man dying of a gaping chest wound on her kitchen floor. He died, she left the room to call 911 and waited. When the first responders arrived, the body was gone. Does it end well? Wait and see.

I think you should share your wild nano ride story with the WOW! Blog Readers. Reply with tales of the times you got off the ride with a numb butt and queasy stomach. We want to know how you managed to climb back onto the scary ride until the carnival began packing up to wait till next year. Who screamed the loudest? Who threw up? Who passed out and most of all who is willing to do it again?

Thanks for indulging me in my post nano attempt at group therapy. Thanks to WOW! for trimming some of my duties during the Month of November, and thanks to Long Ridge for delaying my lesson eight deadline so I could experience a numb butt and thrill of the ride. Thanks goes to the supportive people at the Storycrafter’s Board and Long Ridge Chat Room for keeping tabs on me. Thanks to everyone who did not catch fire while I wore the hat. Thanks, finally, to Chris Baty at Nano for providing a kennel and occasional update on the health and well being of my internal editor.

Sally Franklin Christie


J.Alpha said...

When I read . . . After Nano, I printed the certificate, framed it, and my darling husband nailed it to the wall . . . I smiled.

I know so many women who have husbands that DO NOT support their writing goals and dreams. Luckily most of those women can and do find the support they need from other women writers, ala WOW!

Anonymous said...

I think if Husbands and Wives knew how little it takes to encourage us as writers, they might do it more often.

It really can be as simple as hanging a certificate, walking with us through Staples as we buy ink for our printers or an eye roll when we talk ourselves through a murder scene.

I have to add that my darling husband has never expressed an interest in reading anything I've written. See, significant others out there, it isn't hard to encourage a writer.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Congrats Sally!

And I know what you're going through... when you're so involved with your characters, living day-in, day-out, it's like postpartum to see them go.

I find that whenever I'm totally involved in my fiction writing I think of them constantly--when I'm at the store, I'll think, Oh, she would like this, or say that. It's bizarre.

But, just because the month of November ended, doesn't mean you have to leave your new friends by the wayside until next year. In fact, this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship! By pulling them off the shelf and devoting a little time to them every week, even for one day, you'll begin to cure those feelings of loss.

From what I've read, you have a great plot! So, whenever you look at that certificate on the wall, remember that you've accomplished a VERY trying task of endurance. Now, you have the option of seeing where you want to take it... Next level? Beyond?

Now is the time to celebrate and embrace those next steps while you're fresh. No time for slacking. And I bet this first draft will come in handy with your LR novel course. Your instructor will be proud. ;-)



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