for nano 3Remember last year when I updated you every single weekday about my progress for National Novel Writing Month?

Wasn’t that great? How about I give you an update on everything first before I jump into this…

Day: 21

Daily Word Count: 739/1667

Total Word Count: 35,105/50,000

Favorite Line (or two) So Far: “So you have a spirit haunting you? Can we even call it haunting? Is that politically correct?”

Inspirational Song of the Day: I’ve been obsessed with the newest premiered song by JD McPherson, called “Bossy.” You can listen to it over here, it is awesome.

Problems: I have no idea where I’m going. This is both freeing and frustrating and driving me crazy. I started out this NaNo attempt as Dear Diary, which was basically just me sitting down and interviewing all of my characters that I’ve ever created. I wanted something light and fun to do this NaNo because it’s been a crazy year and it’s heading into an even crazier time (wedding, house-hunting, brand new nephew, lots of things!). After the third day, I was done talking to characters and I wanted something completely different.

So! I created One Dozen Roses, about a medium name Olivia Sookridge who has one particular spirit who will give her nothing and who refuses to leave her alone. What brought this on? I really have no idea. I am in love with the story. My problem is that I know nothing about the spirit haunting her. I’ve even written scenes where she’s tried to get information out of him (so I can get information from him) and he refuses to talk. I even brought in my tell-tale character who shows up in everything, named James, who is trying his hardest to do things. Heck, I don’t even know the name of the spirit! He likes his nickname too much–Glen Gray, after the orchestra leader from the 1930s, which is where I got the title from.

I’m excited at the prospect of reaching 50,000 words (because I refuse to lose ever again) and also going back to edit this story because I think it has a lot of potential.

Last night during the Red Wings game, I went back and read the “Introduction” to Dear Diary and forgot how much I loved it. I thought you guys might enjoy it. If I can rework it to be the introduction for One Dozen Roses, I will try my hardest to keep it in. It’s after the jump!

How do I start this year’s National Novel Writing Month novel when I don’t even have an outline, a base, anything? I dreamed about it again last night, the kind of dream that woke me up with an upset stomach as if something was going horribly wrong (though as a reflection, that was my body telling me it was time to get up, my alarm didn’t go off and I needed to leave for work thirty minutes ago).

I have never gone into NaNo blind. Seven attempts and six wins have all happened with a lengthy and detailed outline. I once started plotting for it back in March. Even last year, writing Cassidy’s story from Jack Richards’ point of view had two pages of notes ready to go. I was working on this in my stress dream last night, so why not start it the same way?

Everyone wants to be Tony Stark. Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist sounds like a great job title. We all want to make something of ourselves, but don’t quite know how to get there. Being Tony Stark just sounds so cool. No one will ever forget him. No one will ever forget Robert Downey Junior for resurrecting his career, kicking Marvel back into the limelight, and helping to carry on a golden age of comic book movies (even if they did start back with the X-Mens and Spider-Mans in the start of the new millennium).

So we try to recreate ourselves in any way possible that will garner us any sort of recognition in any sort of form. Good, bad, who cares in this age of the internet? Your thirty seconds of fame feel like the highlight of your life. They are your thirty seconds to be Tony Stark.

Will I ever make it into that area of fame? Grandiose daydreams do me no good. I can beat myself up trying to think if I will ever make it, if I will ever amount to anything. This foreword is going far too deep into my psyche, into things that could potentially break me if I were a weaker person.

The truth is that I do not know if I will ever be a celebrity in any sense of the word, outside of my six-hundred-and-some-odd Twitter followers that follow my writing (both hockey and comic book).

But I can write characters that embody the idea of Tony Stark. And have I written some characters.

All of my stories sit unfinished. How many? My dad used to ask me that question every few months at breakfast if it was just the two of us. At least ten stories sit unfinished. One is self-published and doing nothing because I am doing nothing to promote it. One is finished and sent out to various agencies in hopes that someone will find it even remotely worth their time. And one more sits mostly finished, a few tweaks here and there, and it will be good.

My mind is crowded with characters, to say the least. I have never had control over them, not once in my life. In a fiction writing workshop in college, one of my classmates made a passing comment about having his story outlined and how he was going to start writing it and I snorted. He asked me why.

“Any time I’ve outlined, my characters don’t follow it. They do their own thing,” I told him.

“…Your characters do their own thing?” he echoed as if he had never heard of such a concept.

They do not exist in the real world (believe me, I know I’m not that crazy). But in my mind they are living beings, just as human as me. I can’t tell them what to do any more than I can tell my fiancee’s cat what to do. They have minds of their own.

And they all deserve their moment in the limelight. Just like Tony Stark.

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