I’ve been writing utter garbage for my current Camp NaNoWriMo novel. Utter unmitigated, unexpurgated, unadulterated gobs of goofy dreck and man-this-stuff-stinks garbage! But I’ve kept at it, commanding my fingers to type, forcing my hand across the pages of my special handy dandy novel-writing notebook, scribbling bits of dialogue, bits of description, bits of the story arc, all as vague as vague can be until things have finally started to make some sense and are starting to gel. Still got a very long way to go but now there’s hope.
I was having to struggle to reach my daily word count by any method possible, taking full advantage of the excellent cheats found in Chris Baty’s equally excellent handbook, No Plot? No Problem! Even more helpful (since I really want to publish one day and would like to publish the novel I’m working on now!) are the books by (and websites of) Larry Brooks and Holly Lisle. Whenever I start to panic, I turn to these down-to-earth guides, take deep breaths, and remind myself that I’m only writing this novel to learn how to write a novel. I don’t have a contract, no one is breathing down my neck–
“Hey, mom. Whatcha doin’?”
No one except Abby Dawg, that is.
“I’m through working on my NaNo novel for the day, mom. Let’s go to the park!”
Speaking of word counts, how is your novel coming along, Abby Dearest?
“Yeah. Just can’t seem to get the words flowing this time.”
That’s alright, Abby. Happens to us all sometimes. What is your word count?
“I’m almost embarrassed to tell you.”
Come on, don’t make me beg.
“Oh, okay. Don’t laugh.”
“I got a late start, you know.”
“And it’s hard to type what with having dawggie paws and no fingers and–”
Just tell me your word count, Abby!
“Forty seven thousand three hundred and four.”
“Oh, wait. I forgot I edited chapter 110 today.”
“So that makes the word count–”
“Forty eight thousand four hundred and nine.”
Good grief. Why did I even ask.
“What’s your word count, mom?”
“I already did.”
Shuddup, Abby Dawg. Here, why don’t you take the keys and drive yourself and Lucy Dawg to the park today while I get some more writing done.
“Awright! That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! C’mon, Lucy Dawg, let’s blow this joint! See ya, mom. Don’t wait up!”
Abby Dawg! Get back here right now. You know I can’t let you drive the car. Not this time. Not after what happened last time.
“Mom, I told you that wasn’t my fault. A squirrel ran out in front of me. What was I supposed to do?”
Well, you weren’t supposed to leave the car running in the middle of the road with the door wide open while you chased the squirrel down the street and two blocks away.
“You want next time I should chase the squirrel while I’m IN the car?”
Argh! Never mind. Just let me finish this post and I’ll take you guys to the park. I’m craving a hot fudge sundae anyway. High time I had a special snack to reward myself.
“For getting caught up on your word count, mom?”
No. For putting up with my four-legged novel-writing companion who is shaming me into working even harder. Later. When we get back. After I have my hot fudge sundae. With extra whipped cream.
“Can I have a hot fudge sundae, mom?”
No. Dawgs can’t eat chocolate.
“I could fix my own special dawggie sundae.”
I’m almost afraid to ask but what goes on a special dawggie sundae?
“It’s really delicious, mom. It’s got my favorite grass from down at the lake, the grass I like to eat and roll in, and fresh goose t*rds (which, as you know, I also like to roll in) and day old squirrel droppings and–Mom? You okay? You like kinda green.”
Buh. I think I’m gonna be sick.
“So I can have your hot fudge sundae, mom?”
NO! Now go get Lucy Dawg and y’all get in the car.
“So you really are gonna take us to the park?”
No. I just want you both to go sit in the car until you pass out from the heat so I can get this post finished!
“Funny, mom. Really funny. Come on, Lucy, let’s go play QUIETLY while mom finishes her stupid post.”
Actually, I’m finished with my stupid post–er, my extremely articulate, well-written and well-worth-the-time-it-took-to-read-it post right now, Abby Dawg. So look out, park, here we come!
(Btw, my word count, if you’re simply dying to know, is currently at 32,630. But most of it is truly horrible and no one is every going to see this bad boy. Not even the notes for it. Absolutely atrocious. Stinky inky inky STINKY awful! But loads of fun, so there.)