Subscribe: Subscribe to me on YouTube

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I had an e-mail earlier this week from Chris Baty, founder of the National Novel Writing Month and Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light. It was a deeply personal message sent exclusively to me, and to the 185,586 other people doing NaNoWriMo this year. In it, he offered these words of advice for the stalling novelist:

Incite change. If your story is losing momentum, juice it up by inflicting some major changes on your characters. Crash the spaceship. End the marriage. Buy the monkey.

It made me realise where I've been going wrong with my novel. I don't have a spaceship or a monkey. I do have a marriage, but I've already ended that with an unexpected tortoise-drowning incident. So I've embraced change today. During an unusually productive lunch break, I wrote 800 words in Consulting Room 10 of the Park View Health Centre in Burgess Hill, and metaphorically crashed my spaceship into Monkey World. Although I think that's already been done with 'Planet of the Apes'. Anyway, I think it's a plot twist that works. In fact I'm tempted to claim that I planned it from the beginning.

Unfortunately, I didn't actually make it beyond those 800 words, because I received a distressing e-mail from Lisa this afternoon. It read:

Disaster. Am's left Po on a bus. She's very upset.

I was upset too. Mainly because I read that as 'poo', and thought I was being asked to clean it up.

So instead of rushing home to write Chapter Sixteen, I drove from Burgess Hill to Toys R Us in search of a replacement Teletubby I could palm off as the original. I eventually found one, and having got stuck in a traffic jam in Hove for half an hour in the pouring rain, I finally made it back an hour late, walked in, and told Amelie I'd found Po at a bus stop. She took one look at my purchase, called it "New Po!", and told me to go out and look for the old one. It's not easy fooling a two-year-old.


Phil's Mum said...

I'm afraid it has reached the point where Lisa needs to compile a list of phone numbers of Lost Property Offices.  The problem only gets worse as they get older!  Homework - Bus passes - PE kit, etc.

Anonymous said...

Приглянулся этот пост. Щас буду старатся посещать вас чаще!

Dave said...

Perhaps you should claim you've left the end of your NaNoWriMo on the bus.