November 30th, 2010 // 9:49 am @ Erik Westermann
I started a novel for National Novel Writing Month on November 1 – today, November 30, is the final day.
It has been a tumultuous month – writing 50,000 in a month is not easy. I was writing a great deal professionally, and then wrote more when I was not writing technical stuff. Most days, during the day, I was writing about 2,500 words – all technical stuff for clients. Like writing a novel, the words just don’t fall onto the page – and content often includes diagrams (in this case a picture is worth a thousand words, yet I still have to write about the diagrams…hmm).
A novel is less deterministic. I had an idea about the story, and it changed many times. So, I don’t have a complete, publishable novel at this point. What I have is 55, 760 words – chapters of novels that explore different ideas based on the same underlying theme: identity.
Seeing it in one word – identity – seems like the ultimate elevator pitch: So what’s the novel about? Identity. Talk about a direct answer! (An elevator pitch describes a 30-second long presentation about an idea, usually a startup or new product. The 30 second time limit is a litmus test that ensures that the creator knows what’s being created, how it benefits users or a segment of the market, and describes the business model)
My 30-second elevator pitch ranges between 1 second and 2 minutes, so I need a bit more work. The theme is based on the relationship between a parent and child. The novel takes the parent’s point of view, switches to the child’s, and explores other points of view too – other children, relationships that the parent has with others and their relationship to events that indirectly affect them. Identity plays a role throughout the novel – each person seeks to become themselves, not realizing that they are already someone – someone that others (the kids) want to imitate – essentially mimesis.
I wrote a lot in various states of mind – mostly tired, but also fed-up, upset, happy, bored, discombobulated – the list goes on. For the first time, my writing was less direct – I tend to get to quickly get to the matter at hand without much context and develop the context after the fact. While direct writing is good for technical writers, it does little to boost interest, word count, and exploration of the underlying theme. (reread the last two sentences and you can see my direct writing style at work)
I explored outtakes – a pause in the story to relate another story. In fact, one of the characters writes for a living and writes in the novel – parts of the novel are from the novel that the character writes.