September 09, 2005

Other: Novel as Game Show

Well, I think I can look at a keyboard again without having my fingers convulse...

Writing a complete (if short) novel from Friday midnight to Monday midnight is a strange, strange experience. Make plans next year to do it again, starting right now: it's worth it. This is my fifth year, and there's certain patterns I've noticed:

Day One: Far more thinking that actual writing, but it's the most frustrating time to be inturrupted. You're working out your plot, and still have to decide if it's going to be that or character that gets priority. Focus is good, your plan of attack is ready.

A CSI Marathon is on right now? CSI is a really good show. I think Grissom is my favorite character on television right now...

I think that the only writing that shoult get done after midnight Friday should be a title page and perhaps the first couple pages, and that's it. No shit: it gives you a place to start the next morning, you get some sleep, and you skip some of the hallucinations. After about twenty-two or -three hours without sleep, if it's the middle of the night, I start hearing things. I start seeing things in shadows at about 30 hours, but they go away when it's light again.

Day Two: There's some time to reflect on what you're doing, and some of the caffine twiches starts today. If you have a loving Signifigant Other who has prepared food for you, you should still be reasonably healthy, so long as they don't expect to see you at a table to eat it. Other inhabitants of the house walk on tip-toe: you won't notice until you take one's head off for letting a heel touch down, making some kind of recognisable noise.

Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick! Would you look at what's happening in Louisiana?

It's entirely possoble that the book stops working. Completely. It just flat-out stops, and there's nothing you can do about it. So you kill the main character, add another, create a shocking revelation: we're not talking about a good book at this point, just a finished book. Some turn to philosophy, in desperate hopes of creating a South American surrealist style tract. It's about the best you could hope for, really.

Day Three: Oops. There's all of one day left. You think you might be half way through, and the clock is ticking. You start walking tight little circles around your chair, bacause you've been banned from the rest of the house. Your eyeballs are burning, your wrists sound like bubble wrap, and you're not sure how long that plate of food has been there. Perhaps some single malt "Hemmingway Inspiration" will get you over the hump? Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and rambling senentces fill the page. Fuck it, need a break.

Hey, right: the Labour Day Classic is on. Both of them. Ahh... What? Six hours?

Okay, no need to panic. Proofread tomorrow, write now. Finish by 10:30, do a quick re-read to make sure that you can explain why everyone's suddenly happy/sad/dead/alive again, then crash out at the stroke of twelve.

Funny thing: you'll be so buzzed that you won't be able to sleep until three or four AM, and you'll be a little spinny for the rest of the week. Next year, try to get at least Tuesday off, too.

Everyone has got to try this. You know you want to...


posted by Thursday at 10:28 am


Blogger Gazetteer said...

Correct me if I'm wrong....but is there not a decent plotline in this post's passage?

Sounds like fun, but......when you have school-aged kids there is just no way to even consider it on that weekend.

4:53 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

Yep - all plot, no character!

And don't we get married so someone else can look after the kids? Or is that backwards...

8:56 pm  
Blogger Gazetteer said...

There are KnowWards in my household!

That is, unless, of course, Sam Sullivan moves in.

3:43 pm  

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