I was casually browsing through the Pep Talk archive in the NaNoWriMo website when I spotted Piers Anthony’s name among the list of authors dispensing advice.
The name brought back fond memories of his Incarnation of Immortality series. Even now I can still remember the story about the man who inherited the job of Death, or the others who became Incarnations of War or Evil or Nature. And if an author can do that – write something that sticks in the brain 15 years later – that has to be something. I had to have a look at the master’s pep talk.
I nearly died laughing when Mr Anthony’s opening line went:
You’re a fool. You know that, don’t you? Because only a fool would try a stunt as crazy as this. You want to write a 50,000 word novel in one month?! Do you have sawdust in your skull? When there are so many other more useful things you could be doing, like cleaning up the house and yard, taking a correspondence course in Chinese, or contributing your time and effort to a charitable cause? Whatever is possessing you?
He proceeds, with great concern, to ask if I was sure about my choice of career, even though I was about to confirm the suspicion of “dubious relatives, several acquaintances, and fewer friends” that I would never amount of anything more than “a dank hill of beans”.
Then this next part made me smile:
Sigh. You’re a lost soul. So there’s no help for it but to join the lowly company of the other aspect of The Fool. Because the fact is, that Fool is a Dreamer, and it is Dreamers who ultimately make life worthwhile for the unimaginative rest of us. Dreamers consider the wider universe. Dreamers build cathedrals, shape fine sculptures, and yes, generate literature. Dreamers are the artists who provide our rapacious species with some faint evidence of nobility.
So maybe you won’t be a successful novelist, or even a good one. At least you are trying. That, would you believe, puts you in a rarefied one percent of our kind. Maybe less than that. You aspire to something better than the normal rat race.
Just One More Step
I honestly thought I wouldn’t make my word count tonight. I had to go for an afternoon interview (did a splendid presentation apparently, but didn’t get the job).
I was tired. I was down. I was about ready to curl up in bed with a glass of hard ginger beer (Yes, ginger beer. Don’t give me that look).
Then my writing buddy inspired me while she worked on her own novel – I’m getting intriguing glimpses of a dysfunctional main character and ninjas and at least one arrest and possible molestation by cops. And so I found myself firing up my own YA novel, a bit dispirited, wondering if my promising beginning was going to lead anywhere.
And then something magical happened. A plot emerged. If I could…yes, I could do that, yes. I might actually have a reason for continuing tomorrow!
5139 / 50000 words. 10% done!
Ten percent! Yay! …I think I might take a break from Malaysian Dark however.