Saturday, 12 November 2011

NaNoWriMo week 2 - NaNoNaughty

12 November 2011

The Writing Bit
Oh dear. I considered doing a normal 'keep-going-even-when-the-words-don't-come-easy'  blog, but there's a dark creature that lives in my brain called a conscience, and he (for he is definitely male) won't let me get away with it, so here is my public confession: First of all, you should understand that I haven't cheated as such, it's just that the 15000 words I've actually written this month are now languishing in another document where I'll pick them up at a later date, and the 15000 words that now reside in the document named NaNoNovel2011 are actually words I wrote in 2004. There, I've said it; I've imported words from a novel I started years ago. 

So how did I end up committing this NaNo sin? What happened was this: the second week of NaNoWriMo is notoriously difficult; this is the week when the first flush of excitement has worn off, and the words come more slowly. I was carrying on, though, trusting the process, allowing my fingers to be ready at the keyboard for when new ideas came through.

Then about halfway through the week, I'm walking through the woods with the dog, minding my own business and trying to plan my next scene (don't think 'whole novel', just think about the next scene, and then the next...) when one of the two main characters from my abandoned 2004 novel suddenly comes jumping into my head, and what's more, she's done something bad; very bad. Then the other one arrives, and she has quite a lot to say about it all, too, and then a third character, who wasn't very important in the 2004 version is also demanding attention and he's turned out to be someone we really can't ignore.

Well, I told them all to shut up, because I was busy with another group of characters, and that I would come back to them in due course. But that night, they all climbed out of the box in the back of my brain and started getting up to all sorts of things. In the morning, I went straight to my desk as usual (I find if I can write for an hour before breakfast it gives me a really good start on the day's wordcount) but I just couldn't get into what I was supposed to be doing. I tried again later, but those three characters had staged a sit-in and there was no way I could get past them.

So the upshot is, I've put aside what I'd already written for NaNoWriMo and pasted in a fair chunk of what I want to keep from the 2004 novel (it'll need rewriting anyway) and I'm now writing on from there.  That's my confession. Now I wait for the NaNoPolice. In my defence, I will have written 50,000 new words by the end of November, but it'll be 15,000 of a new novel, and 35,000 of a novel already started. What do you think? Have I been very bad?

The Reading Bit
No proper book review this week, but I just want to urge you if you haven't already done so, to read Stephen King's On Writing. I'd say it's a particularly useful book to read when you're in the middle of NaNoWriMo. Not only are there great examples and tips on the actual craft of writing, but there's some very encouraging stuff about the process of writing, and about the story being a 'found thing', something that the writer uncovers through the writing process . It's a fabulously entertaining read, too.

The Food Bit
As explained last week, throughout NaNoWriMo, I'm just posting (mainly vegan) meal ideas. Even if you're not vegan, most of these meals are actually really very nice, although I must admit, not all vegan grub is to my taste.
This week we had:
Saturday: went out to eat - Vegan Husband had the falafel burger with spicy potato wedges and salsa, I had a salad with cajun salmon & lemon goats cheese.
Sunday: vegan pizzas & salad (made these with 'vegan mozzarella', tomatoes, onion, garlic, olives, capers & artichokes)
Monday: my teaching night, so I had salmon and ricotta ravioli, VH had lentil dahl and rice (he eats a lot of dhal!)
Tuesday: vegan sausages and sweet potato mash with onion and red wine gravy.
Wednesday: vegetable pasta bake and salad
Thursday: burgers (made from Granose burger mix - v good!) in buns with soya cheese slice, served with chips and salad.
Friday: mushroom, pepper and cashew nut stir-fry with noodles and rice.


  1. Very creative! I love the idea of the characters jumping out of the box and taking over...good on them! I have realised I am probably not going to write reams ever unless I have a cunning plan...and I haven't (yet!) :)

  2. I must have missed the link to your post last week Susan, thinking you were busy doing NaNoWriMo. Well anyway I'm no expert because I've never done it, but I do know that trying to write what doesn't want to come is torture, and trying not to write what's come to life in your head will keep you awake at night. It sounds like you're having a very productive month and should feel pleased with yourself, not guilty !

  3. Susan Elliot Wright19 November 2011 at 11:53

    My apologies for the late reply - I've been away relaxing (and writing!) in the lovely Peak District.

    Thank you both for your comments. Kathyrn, 'creative' is one way of putting it! And yes, I think you need some sort of plan - I don't think I'd planned enough.

    Isabel, thank you for making it sound like I've been a good girl instead of a bad one! Actually, after another week of NaNo-ing, I'm sure I've made the right decision. Updates in due course!