Anne Bean

I make delicious words. // I make words delicious.

Tag: November Girls

NaNo Eve

It is time, kids. Time for what, you may ask? That most wonderful time of year, and I don’t mean when the drug stores put out Christmas decorations, because that happened yesterday. I mean NaNoWriMo. It’s time for me to sit down and work in quantity, busting out a 50,000 word novel in a month.

I did it last year and it was fabulous, and gave me the seed of November Girls. This year, my mission is writing the sequel, November’s Child. The events of the story take place seven years after November Girls. I’m going to write it as a standalone novel as much as I can, at least for the initial draft.

Why embark on such madness? Especially when I am actively revising November Girls? I thought about that one a lot. And I decided that I could a) have some revisions done by Dec. 1, or b) have some revisions done AND have a draft for the sequel by Dec. 1. When I think about it that way, there’s really no contest.

Here’s my favorite explanation for why you should do NaNoWriMo (from the website, www.nanowrimo.org):

“If I’m just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?

“There are three reasons.

“1) If you don’t do it now, you probably never will. Novel writing is mostly a “one day” event. As in “One day, I’d like to write a novel.” Here’s the truth: 99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel. It’s just so far outside our normal lives that it constantly slips down to the bottom of our to-do lists. The structure of NaNoWriMo forces you to put away all those self-defeating worries and START. Once you have the first five chapters under your belt, the rest will come easily. Or painfully. But it will come. And you’ll have friends to help you see it through to 50k.

“2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you’ll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you’d never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.

“3) Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and “must-dos” of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.”

My silly, secondary goal is to post daily to this blog, which may be anything from an excerpt to a word count update to me writing “I am not sleeping and I want to beat myself over the head with my laptop until I pass out.”

Wish me luck! Tomorrow, it begins!

Soundtracks.

November Girls seems to have come with a soundtrack. Sometimes stories do, sometimes they really, really don’t. Chris Bachelder, my undergrad fiction teacher, used to advise us to “enfold ourselves in silence” in order to write. A lot of time that works best for me. Sometimes music comes of its own accord.

I’d spend a lot of time last November when I drafted this sucker listening to Steeleye Span and related bands on Pandora: Fairport Convention, Pentangle, other British folk. I was looking for bands that sung Childs’ Ballad-based songs. I found out that The White Stripes did a rad cover of “Black Jack Davey”.

At some point, while Pandora-ing, I wandering into the land of sixties Brit-rock. The Beatles. The Zombies. Turns out my novel’s soundtrack goes from the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies.

Every writer is composed of three parts: The writer, the editor, and the looney. My inner madwoman says “Hey, since it has a 1970ish soundtrack, let’s set it in the 70s!” My editor points all the plot holes that would happen: cell phones, the look and feel of Colorado Springs, etc. My writer says, “Damn it, Anne, you already changed the TENSE and PERSON of a bunch of scenes, don’t change the dang time period!” Sigh. Turns out editing novels is hard. 🙂

I’ve decided that a good anthem for my novel, aside from “Seagull” as mentioned previously, is “She’s Not There” by the Zombies. Who’s the “she”? Could be either sister.

Synchronicity of the Day

Note: Revising poems is hard. Never again will I make Spideman Comic strip style promises at the end of blog posts.

I think it’s about time you met the main characters of my book. Some of you know them in passing, but I’d like to properly introduce you.

PENNY is a delightfully awkward girl. She’s always lived in the shadow of her sister, CASSIE, who paints and is cool and hangs out with the really exciting emo kids at school and manages to fool their mother about her whereabouts in ways that Penny just plain can’t get away with. Penny feels weird cursing and hates smoking, but nevertheless cult-worships her sister. Therefore, she’s pretty messed up when Cassie mysteriously disappears one November day. That same day she meets a bizarre, garrulous boy named ROBIN, who acts like a Shakespearean idiot most of the time but has a punch that even the hardest gangsters at school learned to respect. With his influcence, Penny increasingly becomes convinced that Cassie was actually stolen by the fairies. Penny has a hard time convincing her mum of that, though, and the investigator in charge of Cassie’s case, JERRY CROSS, thinks she’s insane. He’s troubled by strange dreams, though, that suggest Penny might just be right…

While writing this morning, Pandora pulled up a song by the British folk-rock group Steeleye Span called “Seagull”. Here are the lyrics:

Penny is shining beneath a bright light
With another resting beside her
Maybe the light one will come back tonight
With the memories she carries inside her.

Chorus:
Seagull, Seagull, Three three in a bed.
Seagull, Seagull, Three three in a bed.

Penny the hero, Penny the fool
The gold watch she gave me I’ll treasure
They say that it’s only a game after all
Apart from the pain it’s a pleasure.

Chorus

Penny is silent when fortunes are lost
She knows there is nothing worth saying
You’re all alone when you’re counting the cost
Is it more than a game you’ve been playing?

Chorus

***

I LOVE it when this kind of thing happens! This fits amazingly well with the plot of my novel. Hooray.


© 2017 Anne Bean

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑