Monday, October 25, 2010

never say never

About a year ago, I wrote a post about why I wasn't going to do NaNoWriMo anymore. But two days ago, I went to the NaNoWriMo website and registered for this year.

Yep, I'm doin' it.

What changed my mind: My complaints haven't changed. I still think the obsessive attention to word count gives way to passive, wordy, and sloppy writing that makes the revision and editing process a pain. But I have not one, but two new novel ideas competing for my attention and my pen. I'm already close to 10,000 words into one of them, so I figured the other one would be worthy of the 50K marathon in 30 days. It's the one that's been consuming my thoughts during my two- and three-mile walks lately, the one that whispers character names and words in my ears while I'm teaching. I want to get it out on the page. And now that WILS is done, the time seems right.

Besides, it might even be fun.

Goin' solo again. Sort of. I'm on my own again, and although I'm happy about that, I confess that it'll feel strange to meet my daily word goals and not automatically send my pages to Sarah. I'll miss the instant feedback, the confidence (and reliance?) in her fixing my suckage, the mutual praise, constructive criticism, and mutual feedback. But NaNoWriMo is a group effort in some ways. The marathon metaphor is appropriate. For as we wend our way along the word-count road, fellow writers and friends stand on the sidelines and support us, clapping and offering us encouragement. Writing is a solitary act, but NaNoWriMo is a community event.

So, in one week, you'll like me find me at my laptop -- be it in my room or at the coffeeshop -- and you'll hear me mutter things like "2000 words behind, I gotta do 4000 today... oy, how am I gonna do it?" (or, in a more positive light, "woohoo--2000 words ahead!") You may hear occasional cursing, you may see a ragged expression on my face. Then again, you may see euphoria, and mistake it for mania.

At any rate, I'll be writing.

I encourage you to do the same. Or just stand on the sidelines and cheer me on.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

more good news

If you follow me on Twitter, or Faking It Fans on Facebook (and if you don't, you should), then you know that after three years of writing, reading, revising, editing, patchworking, re-reading, re-writing, re-editing, bunnyhopping (our term for peer review, coined by my good friend and Professor Keith Duffy); after three years of google-chatting, phone calls (sometimes three-four times a week), emailing, and one week in Sag Harbor last December, my writing partner, Sarah Girrell, and I completed our novel Why I Love Singlehood.


Our deadline was pushed up when our editor at AmazonEncore informed us that in order to release the book on Kindle (as was our intention), he needed the novel "like, yesterday." (My words, not his.) We were already so close to being finished; but there were still key chapters that needed tweaking. More than tweaking, actually. They needed an intervention. An exorcism. A miracle. (Ok, so maybe it wasn't all that bad. But they we rough.) So we got to work.

I've posted on this blog about the joy that this collaboration has been. Let me tell you, the hardest work came in the final hours, when it was down to the nitty gritty of what to keep and what to cut. After three years, we had our attachments, and one could bet on who wrote what based on how much we were fighting to keep our precious words from suffering the fate of the deletables. (Although there was one line in question in which I argued, "You wrote that one! And you wanna get rid of it?")

We had checklists. We had a system (well, sort of). And in the end, we got it done. 12 hours ahead of schedule, even.

We said "Holy crap" a lot once the documents were sent. We got a little verklempt. We did a happy dance. She made a roast. I made eggs. We announced it to our social networks. All was well.

Thing is, we're going through a little WILS withdrawal now.

Sarah is wandering from room to room, as if she's lost something and looking for it ("Like a purpose," she suggested). I'm feeling the need to email her something--anything--with an attachment. We're out of checklists, outlines, assignments, notes, drafts, and comments. We're DONE.

I don't know if we'll ever collaborate again, or if I could ever collaborate with anyone else. But I am so grateful for the writing experience I've had these last three years -- unorthodox, fun, arduous -- are some of the adjectives that come to mind. I'll miss our bunnyhopping process ("Stephen [King] says to lose the adverbs"; "Holy suckage, Batman!"; "smileys all around"; and so on...). I'll miss us each giving the other credit when the writing was good, and each taking sole responsibility when the writing was bad. I'll miss having her insight, her ideas, her ways of putting words together that I try to steal as my own. I'll miss communicating with her on a regular basis. I'll miss her. I'll miss these characters too, and the world we lived in with them for the last three years.

But it's time to move on. We have new ideas, new characters clamouring for our respective attention, new times and places to explore.

We're looking forward to what's next. We're looking forward to seeing our book on Kindle in December, and in print come April 2011. We're looking forward to others reading it. We're so proud of this novel, and what we've accomplished.

We hope you'll like it as much as we do.