NaNoWriMo daily update

>> Monday, November 19, 2007


So, I remain a day behind.

That part's not good, but I did have my day brightened when I opened the latest junk mail from NaNoWriMo HQ. They send you updates and things, you see, and most of them really aren't that useful or impressive--they're cheerleading messages, really. "Ra! You can do it! Yes, you can!" Which is no more than what you expect from them.

The latest cheerleading message was from Neil Gaiman, and I didn't read it until this morning even though it entered my mailbox Saturday. I didn't expect too much. "You can do it! Ra!" was pretty much what I expected, you know. And that's what the message was, matter of fact. But then I came to this, in particular:

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"

I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"

"You don't remember?"

"Not really."

"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."

I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.

Now see, that was a very nice thing for Mr. Gaiman to say. Yes, I know he literally said to everyone, or everyone on the NaNoWriMo mailing list. But so what? He's right. I know that. Should have known it when I was bitching and moaning the other day about how stuck I was. So, I'm feeling a lot better now. Or a little better. I'm still behind, but not seriously behind, and every book has these kinds of problems; I probably had them when I did that awful children's novel years ago, and--like Mr. Gaiman--I forgot all about it when the damn thing was done.

So, there we are.


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