My first pro-rated week of NaNoWriMo is complete, last night’s word count falling to 13,510. It’s still not the wordiest thing I’ve ever written, my more eclectic noir piece, the one blending science fiction and existentialism, has been at 23,202 since I put it down a year or more ago. When it got to the point, as I’m getting to with Life in a Glass House, where I felt I was just writing to fill pages, where the actual good bits, the things I knew could grow and stretch during editing, greatly under-numbered the sections that I had even more certainty that I was writing just for the passages to be cut during the first serious edit.
Maybe that’s a problem of mine, needing every passage to seem possessed of its own independent value rather than serving the whole or even just serving to string one truly valuable section to another, and if so, maybe doing the novel month will help me with it. Those catwalks between major ideas must exist in longer works.
I find myself falling back into short story style whenever I let my attention lapse. I skip over detail and scatter facts sparsely. I’ve never cared for specificity of environment, and quite frequently such is unnecessary in short story writing. Not so with novelling. Without clear and explicit descriptions a reader has no idea what the protagonist is doing, the latter seeming to float through a series of unconnected vignettes of action untethered to the real world and spun together only by the narrator, which in the case of LiaGH, is the protagonist himself.
To avoid a sense of bare consciousness floating around, specter-like, one must add details. Some of that is fun, twisting the hard boiled PI tropes into something more human, playing with human reactions in the face of unlikely events. Some of it is tedious, getting Eli out of his apartment with all the things he’ll need for the next scene without spelling it out so dryly that it would become gross foreshadowing if it didn’t seem so much like a section of phone book that readers would likely skip it. Those details most come, the only thing worse than excessive foreshadowing is the sense that an item or an action comes deus ex machina.
The dialogue writes itself. Dialogue has always been one of the easiest parts of any story for me. It is coincidentally interesting that I write so few pieces with much character interaction. For all my enjoyment of and ease with dialogue I seem to have some unconscious aversion it its inclusion.
Something else to work on this month.
I’ve got the bookends of the novel. I have the beginning finished and polished enough to publish, and I have the end solidly, but mutably, in my head. I have a good many points for the in-between, but no entirely clear path. Such is just as well, I never stick to outlines, but I do still worry about tying an entire book together in thirty days. Such is the point of NaNoWriMo, but given my constant difficulty in finishing any piece I’ve good reason not to expect a neat and satisfying wrap-up come november 30th.
By all means, though, I’ll try.