Thursday, December 4, 2008

WON THE BATTLE BUT NOT THE WAR





For those who have kindly asked: I did make it to 50,000 words before the end of the November Challenge of NaNoWriMore (National Novel Writing Month.)

It was exciting to submit my manuscript to the web site’s counting robot and learn that I was a “WINNER”! and had even more words than I thought – the final count was 50,487.

That immediately qualified me for a lot of virtual gratification and even a certificate that I could print out and fill in with such fulsome praise as this:

“Through storm and sun, you traversed the noveling seas. Pitted against a merciless deadline and battling hordes of distractions, you persevered. Your dedication to the high-velocity literary arts is remarkable. Your victory shall be recorded for all time in the annals of the Office of Letters and Light, where it will serve as a beacon to writers hoping to someday follow your triumphant path. You did it, novelist. We couldn’t be prouder.”

That’s the kind of encouragement and undeserved praise that I love.

Then last night our final NaNoWriMo class gathered at the Worcester Art Museum where our teacher Laurel King, distributed champagne toasts, cookies and a button for each of us that says “Novelist”. And she gave us our inner editors back (which we had turned over to her at the beginning) so that we could start revising, which will take a year at least. And we each read a very small section of our masterpiece, to be greeted with applause from the entire class.

However, I will not be wearing my “Novelist” button any time soon, because I realize I haven’t written a novel. I haven’t even written a messy, sloppy first draft of a novel. Many of my classmates have finished their story. (In fact, of Laurel’s 23 students in two classes, 19 of them finished the 50,000 words and became “Winners”.)

But at 50,487 words, my book is nowhere near finished. In fact, I’ve just reached the climax and have to do the dénouement (as they used to say in English class) and tie up all the strings and figure out the ending. And then I’ll be able to start revising.

But I’m not going back to writing until January because there’s all that good Christmas stuff to do now, like Christmas cards and decorating the tree and making cookies….

I hope I won’t be totally out of steam when I next look at my novel draft. All in all NaNoWriMo has been a fun game and it really did teach me lots of things, including that, if you’re racing against a deadline, your characters can take over and do things that leave you amazed and surprised (at what awful dilemmas they can get themselves into.)

One more Christmas thing I’m looking forward to – on Sunday, Dec. 7,from noon to five, I’ll be at Union Station in Worcester for StART at the STATION – featuring “over 75 local artists and fine crafters, as well as food, drinks, music and good times.”

I’ll be sharing a table with friend Kim Cutler who is an amazing potter with some truly beautiful vases dishes and pots for extremely reasonable prices (I’ve already bought two for under $20 for gifts.)

I will be selling copies of my photo book “The Secret Life of Greek Cats” for $10 and will be gift wrapping them for free in cat-themed paper and red and white gingham ribbon. Also I’ll be selling note cards and matted photographs that I’ve taken of Worcester landmarks – ready for framing in a standard- size frame for a great holiday gift for Worcesterites.

Hope to see you there!

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Hi, this is Kyle, Dad forwarded me your email to him so I decided to check out the blog. It is funny, the cat in the cover photo of your book looks like a full-grown version of the little guy I adopted!