Saturday, October 31, 2009

Based On A Story By A Man Named Lear (That's Gerald Lear, Worst Writer In The World)

Today's tip for the top: If, when you are nose-deep and motorboating in the heaving bosom of the demon drink, you agree to do something in somewhat of a rash manner, don't ever write it in your diary. (I will just pause here to let you wipe the tears of laughter away from your beautiful eyes and refocus on your screen. Yeah, I've got a paper diary. Not for some neo-Luddite chic, just because I am guilty of massive O2 contractual idiocy and am shackled to my poxy not-iPhone for another six months at least) Because if you do, you will forget you've agreed to it, carry on down into the navel of the demon drink and filthily beyond, wake up the next morning, blithely continue about your day, and it could be weeks before you open your diary to the correct page and get slapped in the face by the biro-scratchings of your drunken self. And that can be a painful slappin'. Not to mention the small blush of shame at your bad penmanship.

Here's what I've agreed to do. Not exactly life-changing or horrifying, but still terrifying and exciting in equal measure: take part in National Novel Writing Month, or cutey-cutely, NaNoWriMo, which involves...yes, yes...! Writing a novel in a month. Pleasingly, the site counsels that quantity is a higher virtue than quality, setting an arbitrary target of 50,000 words in 30 days and not bothering with editing, plot structure, character development, or showing it to anyone else ever. Sounds like a good deal. So, in a useful warming up exercise designed to get the blood pumping through the writing cortex - or a slowly-expanding deadly leak of precious, precious writing oil on the hairpin bend of success (and guess which I'm going with, folks...) here's a few novel ideas I have been batting around like a cat on a frictionless surface. (No mu, you see. One for the physicists! *high-five, presumed in a vacuum*)

1. Warrrrrrr and Peace (Up A Lamppost)
A pretty sprawling tale, in all: there's a cast of thousands interacting and chatting and laughing and loving and screaming and dying and generally experiencing life to the very fullest. It's actually quite a dull read, until the dying moments, when it's suddenly revealed that THEY'RE ALL DOMESTIC DOGS!
Pros: good shock value with the ending, may tap into lucrative personalised novel market (starring Rover! Yes, your Rover!)
Cons: title may give it away just a teency skoosh, quite difficult to work in all the plot-relevant ball-licking and constant repetition of "sausages" without causing suspicion

2. The Wayfarers' Guide To The Universe
A normal English bloke suddenly discovers his curiously vehicularly-named best friend is an alien who takes him on a befuddled journey round a universe he can't comprehend whilst nursing an endless thirst for a good latte.
Pros: Could work in some mysterious number shenanigans, just like in Lost! Able to tack on unconvincing romance in the film version
Cons: Is it me, or does that sound...maybe a bit...familiar...?

3. Nnnnnnnyyyaaaaaahhhhhhhh
A Joycean stream of consciousness following a man trying to go about his daily business while really, really, really needing the toilet. Onesies, not twosies. This isn't Stalinist Russia.
Pros: Nice kinetic theme, could knock novel off in two days once on a roll. Heh, "roll". Heh, "stream".
Cons: ..oh.......ohhhhh no. Uh. I just have to go and change now.

4. Just Rested My Eyes
Tale of a very-late-twenties blogger who forgoes all other writing outlets and goes to live a hermit's life up a tree in Bishop Stortford to try and forget the shame of being reduced to cheap wee-wee jokes.
Pros: Would probably be quite easy to write, could be inspiring for other rubbish bloggers
Cons: Laptop stops working when soaked with tears, risk of self-referential meta black hole opening up and consuming whole planet

Hmm. T-minus, as the smart ones say, 7 hours until novel-writing start-me-do. And T-minus 6.5 hours before the real Olympic procrastination kicks in, this being procrastination on, at most, a spirited amateur level. I shall keep you posted, you lucky dickens.


Ishouldbeworking said...


I think you've got to completely immerse yourself in this. Go as microscopically introspective as your psyche will allow. Get into all those sludgy corners and have a damn good poke around. Let psychosis become your friend and guide. And remember, it worked for Dostoevsky, and anyway it's only for a month...

Craig said...

"Those French have a different word for everything." Steve Martin.
("Chapeau means hat.")

50,000 words in November equates to roughly 100 words per waking hour. But no pressure.
Worrying about it will, ironically, keep you awake.

Coffee. Speed. Cigarettes.

Craig said...

Have you started yet?
Have you started yet?

How about now?

justrestingmyeyes said...

Ah, God bless yous. Apologies for brief silence, I have been trying to avoid any procrastination tools which, as can be told from my Twitter feed which I last updated eight hours ago (coincidentally, I have just been asleep for eight hours) is working dreadfully well.

ISBW - sounds terrifying. I've already had to hastily age one character by 20 years and give her a son just so she isn't an exact carbon copy of me. I will indulge myself some wish fulfilment with her, though, I think - shall try and stop myself straying into fanfic territory...

Ah, Craig, with your horrifying statistics. 100 words per hour? Sounds...insurmountable! I have as yet not resorted to chemical means to keep me going, but I may insert at random into the novel long and lurid descriptions of my dreams each night, even if they are totally unconnected to the characters (ha!) or the narrative (HA!)

I'm a day behind, so far. I've written about 3,200 words and I should be at about 6,600 by the end of today. It's actually, whisper it, quite fun. Even if I've got a beginning and an end and a huge gaping black hole idea vacuum between the two.

Mostly: thank you for your comments+support - my most excellent of eggs!

justrestingmyeyes said...

Fun fact: that last comment was 218 words. (I feel slightly like Rainman) So that's all getting shoehorned into the next chapter. It'll be fine, I'll put, "He looked at his favourite blog and read:" and then, "What a delightful comment, he thought. This JRME must be quite a gal." Then he'll do a dance number.

Sounds like quite a book, no?