I thought her NaNo pep talk was interesting. I loved this piece of wisdom: “You can’t know what a book is about until the very end. This is true of a book we’re reading or writing.”
That seems to be true for me. I can give you a one-sentence description of most of my NaNo buddies’ novels. But I can’t do it for my own. I don’t know what genre it is; it doesn’t have a title. (To be honest, Tap Dancing at the County Fair is as good as anything, better than most.) I have essentially two different story lines that I hope will merge at the end. I have a pretty good idea of how and when they’ll merge, but as to whether they will actually blend in a satisfying way? Oy.
I started writing what I thought would be a woman’s belated coming of age, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life road trip story as she headed off to the hinterlands for a high school reunion, her first in at least 30 years. That’s based loosely on me: I went to a college sorority reunion this summer and caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in *gasp* 40 years. It was a good opportunity, before, during and after, to look at expectations, what my friends and I have done with our lives, the surprises, the ‘oh, yeahs.’
But are these thoughts interesting and well, novel, enough for a page-turning novel, especially from someone with my limited talents and a 30 day deadline? As I was galloping along the word count highway with Becca, my protagonist and alter ego, I was getting bored, and boring. Becca has picked up a motley crew of fellow travelers along the way, and Reba, Buddy, Libby and her snake, Roy, are spicing up Becca’s life and journey, but still, she can be a self-righteous little prick. I got stuck.
So I followed Michael Ondaatje’s advice to work on another scene. I started another story line, this one with a clearly delineated Bad Guy, Leona, and the motif of this story line is: Revenge is sweet. This is in my Carl Hiaasen wanna-be mode, and it is definitely different in tone from Becca’s saga. It’s much more slapstick and humorous. It’s been fun to write so far, but I’m stuck again and so I’ll go back to Becca’s story in my writing today.
Does any of this rambling make sense? What do you think of a novel that flips in tone from chapter to chapter? Can that work? I’m writing in 3rd person and not getting too deep into any one character’s head; the narrator is trying to be an impartial observer.
The difference in tone thing worries me, though I can work on that in December and beyond, I suppose, if it seems like there’s anything salvageable here. At this point (I reached the 25,000 word mark last night! I made brownies to celebrate – help yourself. ) I’m not going to scrap anything, but I sure have NO IDEA if any of this can work. I’m definitely NOT editing as I go along, and I’m trying to follow Lynda Barry’s advice to not even go back and look at anything I’ve written to date.
What do you think? I welcome any feedback from my esteemed friends.