Friday, 4 November 2011

NaNoWriMo - the first week

During November, like many other writers, I'll be blogging about NaNoWriMo because basically, I can think about little else at the moment. Normal blog activity will be resumed in December.

The first week is always exciting - you've decided you're going to do it, you've told the world, and you're now on the threshold of this wonderful achievement. You'll have been thinking about your novel for a while, and some of you sensible people with have drawn up a plan or an outline. Others. like me, will have dived in with nothing more than a vague idea and a few characters. But with a bit of luck, the message 'quantity, not quality' will have got through and by now, you'll have a substantial number of words nudging up that little blue line on your author page on the NaNoWriMo site.
This is how my week's been so far:
Day 1:  Got up at 6.15, an hour earlier than usual, staggered to my study and switched on the computer. Resisted urge to check emails, twitter, blog stats etc. Looked at screen and wished I had a plot. Typed three sentences, deleted two. (This is what you're NOT supposed to do - no deleting precious words until December!) Then I told myself that it really didn't matter because whatever happens, I have nothing  to lose. Typed 730 words of rather poor prose in a very uncertain voice, then stopped for breakfast. Walked the dog, dealt with emails and stuff, then typed another 700 words. Broke off to move around and then typed a little bit more.  By the evening, I'd got to 1800 by typing little bits here and there. Voice not right; character not right; not sure I even need this scene!

Day 2: Sat at the computer and stared at it for a good ten minutes. Not knowing what to write can  be almost painful! Eventually, decided to write a scene showing one of my main characters having a conversation with her partner in which I attempt to reveal that he is controlling and that she's in denial. This, and her thought and actions immediately afterwards, kept me going for the whole day's word count!

Day 3: Slightly easier today. Getting into the dynamics of a relationship has proved fruitful and has suggested several new plot possibilities for the future. Started a new document named 'nanonotes'  (seeing as how I still don't have a title for my novel) which I now keep open all the time I'm writing so that I can make a note of things I might use later.

Today is day 4: Got up relatively late for me (7.40) wrote another 500 words before breakfast, this time from another character's point of view.  Took the dog for a walk in torrential rain, which meant there were no other dog walkers around (lightweights!) but which also meant I was able to think about my novel. Came to the conclusion that this novel may be too ambitious - too many characters, too many stories. But because none of the stories is fully formed - and I know none of them will be until I actually start writing them - I'm not sure which of them to concentrate on. So, I will continue to do what I'm doing now, writing bits from difference viewpoints just to see what happens, what develops, and which of my four women ultimately pulls me into her world.

The Reading Bit
A brief review this week, because I'm still trying to keep my NaNoWriMo word count on track: My Perfect Silence by Penelope Evans starts with the powerful line 'I was four when I killed my baby brother'. The story then goes on to show how this tragedy shaped the narrator's life and  bonded her closely with her older brother Max, who becomes her protector.   Little more than a baby herself when the tragedy occurred, the narrator, Rose, doesn't remember what happened and didn't really grasp the magnitude of it until some years later, at which point she stops speaking.  Max continues to protect and speak for her, even when his bride-to-be is killed and Rose is considered the prime suspect. This certainly a page-turning read, and will probably appeal to Ruth Rendell and Lesley Glaister fans.

The Food Bit
I won't be posting actual recipes during NaNoWriMo, but I thought it might be helpful for anyone stuck for veggie/vegan ideas to see what I've cooked for dinner each night. Some of these recipes will no doubt find their way onto this blog eventually - let me know if there's anything in particular that appeals!

Saturday: Creamy mushroom tagliatelle with crusty bread
Sunday: Vegetable Chilli with rice and grated vegan cheese
Monday: My teaching night, so Vegan Husband cooked himself something with lentils while I had some prawn dumplings (reduced counter at Waitrose) and some stir-fried veg.
Tuesday: Spinach  and vegan cheese filo parcels, crushed new potatoes, tomato & onion salad
Wednesday: Olive and tomato penne, rocket, ciabatta rolls
Thursday: Soya mince with peppers, mushrooms, tomato, garlic, herbs and red wine, served with new potatoes and broccoli.
Friday: Friday night is usually either pasta night or curry night; tonight I think it'll be curry - I have some aubergine, sweet potato  and chickpea curry in the freezer, so I'll cook some basmati rice and knock up some sag aloo to go with it, then I'll send VH down the road for some parathas or chapatis. Sorted!

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