So far, so good.
I haven’t gone out of my mind yet and I don’t feel as if I’ve run out of ideas for my NaNoWriMo main character, a teenager named Benjamin. Plot has finally reared its scaly head, and it is an exciting thing. The only thing I worry about is how to end the YA story! The setting seems to be a kind of post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy, and it’s basically just me tossing out everything my imagination can come up with, and doing crap to my character for the sheer heck of it.
So far, I’ve dislocated this poor boy’s arm, had him brained by a dictionary, kissed by a cute boy, driven him into a radioactive-like wasteland and just yesterday had him slammed into by a ‘Hellboar’.
I like torturing my characters, in case you didn’t know. You’d be amazed how interesting they act under stress! (Yes, I know, I’m sick).
After 11 days, I am fairly surprised I have been able to keep a consistent daily word count of 1,700 to 2,500 words, including my Malaysian novel. Some part of me keeps expecting me to crash, until it dawns on me that 2,000 words a day shouldn’t be that hard. I’m only making it out to be. I keep thinking the only way I can get ‘proper writing’ done is to take a holiday or day off.
Instead, NaNoWriMo is forcing me to make the time even on busy days. Sneak in an hour of writing here, an hour there, and voila. It’s amazing.
The difference, of course, is the quality of the prose. There’s almost a kind of automatic writing involved in writing my YA novel. It’s insane fun, letting go and not caring about rhythm or reason. In fact, I’ve been treating my yet-to-be-named YA fantasy novel as a vacation from the darkness of (haha) my Malaysian novel. NaNoWriMo is not about churning out glowing prose! It’s about setting your muse on fire, doing crazy things you would never do in a story. It is your license to, ahem, spill.
R. S. Guthrie raised some interesting points, among other things, when he argued against forcing a writer’s muse to work:
The problem is, shaking our muse awake and barking commands only serves to startle him or her into leaping from slumber and running headlong into that pesky, graffiti-scarred wall the East Germans used to call “Writer’s Bloc”. In fact, it’s been my experience that putting a collar on the muse and leading her to water gets you two things: 1) A pissed off muse. 2) A snoutful of fear when she throws you on your back and waterboards you.
He seems to believe that stress has never been a prime ingredient for creativity, and that forcing the muse is a “pretty poor way to create lasting, quality prose”.
He has a point there, but then again, I’m not aiming for quality. All I know is that a daily deadline is getting me further than I ever have since I decided to do this mad YA-novel-by-day, Malaysian-novel-by-night mission.
Hopefully if there’s one thing I can take away from the NaNoWriMo experience, it would be a writing habit that stays where it is like the loyal pooch, instead of the damn contrary cat it has been in recent years.
19144 / 50000 words. 38% done!
And 500 words of Malaysian Dark.