The darker side of my NaNoWriMo writing

Here’s another excerpt from my writing that is quite different in tone from the excerpt I posted earlier.  I’m not sure how — and if — the two elements can come together successfully, and that will be one of the challenges starting in December.  I’m also trying to write a little about homelessness and that part is very difficult because I don’t want to come across either as a poser or as preachy. I haven’t found the right tone, if that’s the appropriate term, for that part of the story yet and that’s what I’m grappling with now.

Of course, the largest element of my writing is the incredibly boring and banal rambling sections that go on for miles and miles.  I’m gonna try to keep them to myself and then just put them out of their misery and my word count once I start editing.


“What’s the story on Roy?  He seems like an odd traveling companion.” Becca kept her eyes straight ahead on the road.

“Oh, Roy.”  Libby sighed before continuing.  “Buddy and I were on a back road somewhere a while ago and he’d stopped to take a pee.  When he was getting back in his truck he saw this snake sunning himself along the shoulder and he told me to watch, he was gonna run over the poor thing.  Well, I ran and got to that snake before Buddy did and just grabbed him up off the road.  Buddy was furious!

“But it turns out that Buddy is also afraid of snakes and so I told him I’d sic the snake on him if he didn’t watch out.  I could have sworn Roy knew exactly what was going on right then and there.  He relaxed with me right away, but I’ll tell you – Buddy got anywhere near him and he’d rear up and show him fangs.  Made Buddy nearly piss in his pants when he saw that; the only time I ever saw Buddy scared was when Roy looked at him.

“I think Roy and I are kind of kindred spirits now, you know what I mean?  I was able to save him from Buddy and in some small way, he was able to help save me from Buddy.  I’d never have been able to get away from Buddy that morning I saw you at the store if Roy hadn’t lunged for Buddy.”

Becca said a silent prayer of gratitude that she’d let Libby bring Roy with her.  Who knew?

12 comments to The darker side of my NaNoWriMo writing

  • I like the twist. I don’t think it is that dark at all because it has a self redeeming quality to it.
    -boy hates snake,
    -girl saves snake,
    -snake hates boy,
    -snake saves girl.
    It’s almost biblical. Well, except the last part. LOL
    I’m sorry I can’t offer any help with the sections about homelessness. I’m completely clueless regarding terms or what it’s like. Maybe you could volunteer at a shelter, or soup kitchen. Or interview the staff at one of those facilities.

  • Nancy

    Thanks, DS. My problem with the homelessness part of my story relates more to how to present it in a straightforward way that isn’t patronizing. I need to think it out a bit and then maybe I’ll ask my writing buddies some more specific questions about how to approach it.

  • I’m curious as to what your personal feelings are about snakes. It’s interesting that you have one in your novel. I wonder what that reveals about your subconscious or if you consciously fit Roy into your novel.

    Don’t ask me what I mean by that last paragraph. My brain is strained by all the thinking and writing of late. I like to keep up with everyone’s blog posts and to comment but I can’t be responsible for what I say. Ya know what I mean?

  • I agree with DS a little, you might want to volunteer once with the homeless. I don’t think you’ll be able to be patronizing in your writing if you get to meet someone who lives on the streets. But I think really, then you can think about what it might be like to be in their head about it and be honest.

    Don’t know if that helps! 🙂

  • Nancy

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I do know a fair number of people who live and have lived on the streets — that’s not really the problem, I don’t think. I just want to be able to present their lives in a respectful, straightforward way that at one extreme doesn’t patronize them and at the other end, doesn’t glorify their victimhood, if that’s what you might call it. I just want to present a story in an unsentimental manner and let the sentiments
    come out on their own.

    That’s the TONE issue I’m having trouble with. That, and expressing myself at all in this post. 🙂

  • Nancy

    Oh, yeah, Shaddy — I think snakes are cool. I like to see them from a distance in the woods, or close up at the aquarium, serpentarium (We have one in town!), separated from me by a nice thick glass. I love the way they move. I love the different colors and patterns.

    Pick one up? Never.

    I like to think of snakes having magical powers, probably it’s a Madeleine L’Engle wanna be thing.

  • Check out the book ‘Into the Wild’ by John Krakauer.

    It gives a different perspective on homelessness. It’s homelessness as a choice. You’ll enjoy the book and you’ll learn a little about living on the streets. There’s a movie too but the book is much more in depth and Krakauer researched this book to a fault.

    I still don’t see a problem with the tone. This is the dark side but I still chuckled with the man being afraid of a snake.

    BTW, My daughter has a pet snake, her name is Sadie. Maybe I’ll post a picture for you.

  • Nancy

    I like Krakauer, but I haven’t read this one. I might check it out in the infamous post-NaNoWriMo hours and minutes.

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Hey, I noticed you are like a day’s writing away from winning! Go, go!

    Are you close to the end or will you keep writing? I am trying to time my 50k as close as I can to the end of the story (well, with a few hudred words of padding since they say that sometimes the NaNo site calculates differently than a word processor).

  • Nancy

    I should pull myself across the finish line sometime today. And don’t worry, when I do I’ll let everyone know!

    My story isn’t done yet, so I intend to keep writing until it is finished, but not with the 2,500 words per day quota that I’ve set for myself in the last week or so.

    I find that my word count in Microsoft word is about a hundred words LESS than the same document when I transfer it over to Google Docs, which I do every day in case the house blows up. That way I still have my masterpiece even if everything else has gone down the tubes….

  • How did you get your winner’s badge? I’m spazzing out here.

  • Nancy

    WOOT!!! and DING DING DING! You go, girl!! Congrats on crossing the winner’s line, Shaddy!

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