Sunday, November 19, 2006
"Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder."
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Writing a novel is eerily like raising kids. You can plan and outline and create the "right" settings and know exactly where it's "supposed" to go, and yet, when the story is being written and kids are being raised, they tend to take over and have their own say, very thoroughly screwing up your well-laid plans.
Stories and children are amazing things, though. Even with the same backgrounds and same main characters, they come out strangely unique. Two writers can never come up with the same story even with the same outline. Two children raised the same will not be the same. That inherent life force we have when we are born supercedes all else. We see the same angle in different ways. We interpret the same myths in contrasting lights. Our characters, regardless of what we want them to be, will become what they are born to be.
This is the third week of Nanowrimo, that week when revelations we didn't expect pop out at us from nowhere and bring an excitement to the work, a mystery of sorts. We don't know where it comes from and it doesn't matter. Week three makes us realize just why we are undertaking this seemingly insane quest. It turns out it is not so insane after all. There is, as they say, a method in madness. Pushing to get so deeply into a story so quickly forces you to write whatever will come out, not what you want to come. You tell yourself over and over that it doesn't matter if you want it there or not; it adds to your word count. You can take it out again after November.
So much of what is going on in my life right now is reverberating through my story. It will all have to be edited, but in the meantime, it's an incredible therapy. I will save the first draft as it is, in a separate file locked away to outside eyes. It is not meant for sharing, but for letting go. I can be free to write anything I want, letting the thoughts swirl around the paper and realizing it's pushing me closer to my goal. I'm still behind. I should be at 31,673 words by tonight and I am barely past 21,000. It's all well and fine, though. At the beginning of today, I needed over 3,000 words a day to hit 50K. By tonight, with my day's push, I need only 2,600 a day. By Friday, I was thinking I might as well throw in the towel. Now, I see that it's still doable, and if I continue using it as a journal, it's also healthy. *laugh*
I don't consider myself a poet or philosopher, but novelists need to be some of both. They also need to retain that feeling of awe. We have to believe it is all possible.