October 2009


The pressure’s on, and between now and the Nov. 1 “novel launch,” we have Halloween and all that entails. So any pre-planning I left to Saturday will just not get done now.

That fact made it a little hard to swallow some last-minute advice from a work colleague: “You should do a novel treatment.” Hmmmm, like … YEAH! Why didn’t I think of that?!

But that’s OK. The words will come, the story arc will launch, and my path will be made easier by my exceedingly low expectations.

Time to buy some Halloween candy.

It’s (gulp) a little bit less than a week before the grand novel-a-palooza begins, and I’m forestalling my butterflies and sense of dread by focusing on a multitude of small details.

Of course, that multitude reveals the lack of planning and forethought that I’ve put into this operation. I suppose it’s fortunate that Tim the novelist never planned D-Day, or anything else of moment. But forge on we must. Here’s hoping that my first typed lines will lead to a tumult of typing the likes of which the world has never seen! (A guy can hope.)

So here’s the current plan: Write in Word, post all the text in this blog as it arrives. In Facebook and Twitter, include briefer (and appealing?) calls to click through. Solicit feedback from all the sites. T minus 6 days.

I was home sick today and began to grow concerned about the “rules” that govern writing a lawyer novel entirely in the month of November. For example, advance planning is encouraged, but writing in advance in verboten. Outlines, bullet points, e-mail notes to self — all OK. But if your thoughts start coming together in complete sentences –> STOP!

I’ve also received a few more random suggestions from friends for the novel. Include animals, and do something along the lines of Law & Order. Hmmm. I think I’ll consign those to the non-complete-sentence stack of ideas that is forming. 24 days until writing begins (www.nanonwrimo.org).

This past week, I mentioned to a few friends and colleagues that I planned to write a novel — soup to (very) nuts — in November. I’m not sure what I expected, but I got (1) advance sympathy, and (2) unsolicited story ideas.

I’ve filed most of the story ideas, perhaps for future use. The most common one, among lawyers and nonlawyers alike: Make it a bodice-ripper. Hmmm, I suppose some ideas range across myriad professions.

Bodices may or may not be ripped (don’t hold your breath), but I got my first inkling of novelist terror when friends, in their own helpful way, started calculating how many words I had to write per day.  Gulp. It may be my saving grace that I was never good at math. Their multiplication with wide eyes was enough to get me thinking too much about the project ahead.

And for those who don’t know, nanowrimo.org charges participants with writing a 50,000-word novel, all in November. Planning and thinking before November is OK, but no writing starts until the 11th month. The fact that 50K is more of a novella than a novel is some small consolation. Nonetheless, for the next 30 days, I’m avoiding people who are good at math.

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