NaNoWriMo Week 2 Update: Unpaved Surfaces Ahead

Disclaimer: This update is being written on copious amounts of caffeine and way too little sleep.  I can’t even guarantee it will be coherent by the time I hit “publish” much less that it will be free of typos or grammar errors. So please bear with me.  I’m really tired.

I’ve just completed week 2 of NaNoWriMo 2013.  After 14 full days, my word count is at 37,293.  That is a lot of words, “even for a man of science.”  (100 bonus points if you get that reference without looking it up). Okay, maybe in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that many words.  There are plenty of WriMo’s, as we seem to be called, who are far ahead of me in word counts.  But it feels like a lot of words and I’m well on my way to the 50,000 word goal of NaNo.  It is more than any other single “story” I’ve written, save one.  That one is a work in progress that got away from me in scope and just keeps growing.  I suspect, if I can ever rein it in, that one will probably end up at least a trilogy, if not a series.  But I digress.  I’m afraid there might be a lot of that in this post.  Did I mention I’m tired?

Week 2, as the NaNo site warns, has been more of a challenge.   Where week 1 was mostly the smooth ride of a decently-paved highway, week 2 was more like a construction zone.  Mostly, it was one of those construction zones where you’re still allowed to drive 60 mph, but only under the constant fear that any moment could send you over the line into the business end of a track excavator or the poor construction guy whose only defense is an orange plastic barrel with a blinky yellow light on top.  You know the zones I mean.  When you finally emerge from them you breathe a sigh of relief as you make a conscious effort to unbunch your shoulders from around your ears.  Week 2 was mostly like that.  But with a couple of detours into unpaved-rural-road-that-hasn’t-been-graded-in-years territory.

It started out last weekend with two marathon days of writing: the deceptive open freeway before you go around a wide bend and suddenly hit the slowdown.  “No problem,” I thought, as I breezed by 30,000 words.  My plot was more complete than anything I’ve written except a few short stories and one bit of Fanfic that will never, ever see the light of day (I hope).  My characters were beginning to seem like real people.  I was progressing steadily towards some key scenes.

On Monday I was still cruising along, wondering what all the NaNo fuss about week 2 was all about.  I completely missed the “Construction Ahead” and “Detour Ahead” signs.  I’m still convinced there was no “Pavement Ends” sign.  Then Tuesday happened.  I came around that carefree bend in the road to the red-tail lights and stacked cars of the construction-zone approach during rush hour.  I almost didn’t write anything at all, but told myself I had to write something!  I eked out 300 or so words.  After daily averages of well over 2000 and a weekend that totaled over 10,000 in two days, 300 was no epic tale of heroism.

I think I panicked.  I veered off the freeway onto that unpaved-rural-road-that-hasn’t-been-graded-in-years detour.  Through Wednesday and Thursday I rumbled down a washboard road of the type that makes your car rattle and thunk until you’re certain it’s going to fall apart, with pieces flying in every direction.  To make matters worse, it was dark.  Like 10pm in the winter dark, because for some reason I just couldn’t write earlier than that, despite valiant efforts.  So the writing started at 10pm and just kept going until 12:30 or later and I was falling asleep at my keyboard.

I couldn’t see or dodge the potholes (or should I say “plotholes”?). One evening as I was writing a relatively minor bit of backstory, I slammed full speed into a huge plothole.  I think I actually got whiplash from sitting back and saying to myself “Great, now I have to figure that out too.  How in the world am I going tackle that?”  I patched it over with a character thinking something along the lines of “We still don’t know how they did that….” and kept moving.  My brand-new, shiny, silver novel was now brown with splattered mud, but I was moving again, and at least that’s something.  Right?

I’m hoping that I see the on-ramp back on to the freeway ahead.  I have two whole days to do nothing but write, and maybe some housework.  Because, really, you can only let dishes and pet hair pile up so long before real life becomes some terrifying sci-fi horror story.  I have an absolutely huge “scene” to work on this weekend, which may account for some of my troubles this week.  I knew it was the next section of the story that I wanted to work on, but was also aware that it would take several consecutive hours that I just don’t have during the week, so I had to detour off into other, lesser chapters.

Once I start this section, I won’t be able to stop until it is done.   Unless I fail miserably, it should be the kind of writing that even keeps me on the edge of my seat as I write it.  I can’t wait to start.  Just-opened, freshly-paved freeway with no traffic (and no state troopers) in sight.  Or so I hope.

NaNoWriMo – bring on week three!

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