Monday, November 28, 2005

a novel result

Monday night was the end of November.

Well, it was for me.

That was the night I got to see this on my laptop screen:

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Dear Novelist,

You did it.

Despite everything else going on in your busy life, you managed to pull off the creative coup of writing a 50,000-word novel in just one month.

When the going got tough, you got typing, and in four weeks, you built vast worlds and set them in motion. You created characters; quirky, interesting, passionate souls with lives and loves and ambitions as great as yours. You stuck it out through the notoriously difficult middle stretch, and pressed onward as 80% of your fellow writers dropped out around you.

And now look at you: A NaNoWriMo winner. And the owner of a brand-new, potential-filled manuscript. It's an amazing accomplishment, and we're proud to have had you writing with us this year.

It was a near thing though. I hadn't been aware that word-counting programmes can vary in their results, and I uploaded what I thought was my finished manuscript on Sunday. I was 1500 words short!

Thank heavens that I hadn't left it until the last day. This gave me another 48 hours to write some new scenes and fine-tune the chapters I'd already written.
Scorched by Darkness was completed and approved. Whew!

I didn't know if I could do it. I'd never written 50,000 words about anything. Until this month I'd never written 5,000 words in a day about anything. To
do creative writing at that speed was a big ask.

But at least I've answered the question "Could I do it? Could I write 150 pages in a month?"
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The man came round to mow the lawns this morning. Zelda the goose was disturbed by all this noise in the back yard and waddled across the patio to the back door. I thought she'd stay there where she felt more secure but she didn't stop there.
Hopping up onto the back step, she walked straight into the house. I called out to my sister, who was propped up in bed reading. She looked up just as the goose walked through the door of her bedroom. "Eeeek! Don't you dare poop on the carpet, Zelda."
I shooed her out and closed the door. I think perhaps she was motivated by memories of the box she lived in when she was a gosling. Maybe she thought it might be nice to curl up under the warmth of the reading lamp again.

Sunday was Julie's birthday. We met up with some friends at the newly refurbished Maypole Hotel in the northern suburbs. It was a very pleasant meal. Most of those present were past or present members of the Amnesiac team from the quiz nights at the New Sydney.

Joining us were American science fiction writer Steve Lazarowitz and his partner Dana. They were regular members of the Amnesiacs last year but back problems make it difficult for Steve to join us.

It was nice to see them again. After Julie's birthday present (a book on extraordinary chickens) had been passed around the table, he was inspired to reminisce about walking down Flatlands Avenue in Brooklyn with a chicken on his shoulder. (It's a long story.)


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