Wrestling the three day novel

5 09 2010

It’s day two of the 3day novel contest and I gotta tell you, it’s a challenge.  The sun is shining outside and there’s a lovely cool breeze blowing (leftovers of a massive Earl) and the entire universe is calling for me to head outside instead of sitting here hunched over my computer keyboard, wrestling an unfriendly muse to get a novel out in a mere 72 hours.

It’s a funny contest.  Day one, I spend thinking, tidying my house, procrastinating and then percolating. I look idle. I am idle.  But somewhere in the head there are connections happening.  Around about 10 last night after hearty glasses of wine – I foolishly bought some stemless wine glasses (a.k.a. tumblers) that hold a gallon of wine (but it’s only one glass, right?) and last night had two of them before I started to list to the left and feel a bit odd – I felt my muse walk into the room and start speaking to me.  Unfortunately, shortly after that I fell asleep.

This morning she’s around here someplace but I think she’s still in the shower or making coffee or something. I can hear her bumbling around, a slightly groggy guest, but she isn’t speaking clearly as yet. So instead I edited another piece to send in and now I’m writing this, trying to get my writing fingers up to speed.

One time I tried Dragon Naturally Speaking, thinking that it would be so much easier to speak what I wanted to write. I tried, but the pausing needed for the machine to catch up with my speech slowed my thoughts.  Saying punctuation messed with my head. Also, I find that I write better than I speak (frightening thought that that is) and somehow my thoughts, as processed through my fingers come out more clearly. It’s even stranger when you realize I type with five fingers – index and middle on both sides, and one thumb. You’d think the strange neurons required for this connection would slow my thinking, but it seems no.

I’ve tried to teach myself to type without looking at the letters and even using my fourth finger now and again and it just doesn’t stick.

So for now I struggle onward, trying to write roughly 120 pages in three days with my feeble five digits. The best help is “Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die“, a smallish program that sets off alarms if you stop writing.  It’s cool, it’s free online, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen for shutting down the internal editor.

Hmm. I am hearing the muse heading down the hall in my direction. I’d better get back to work, before the violins or screaming babies start on Dr. Wicked…

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3 responses

5 09 2010
Dark Matter Press

In the time it took you to write this, you could have written 7 paragraphs of a novel.

Okay, on the other hand this is a lovely warmup for the real thing… which I assume you’ve started by now.

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5 09 2010
Dark Matter Press

It seems these comments read html, so my clever asides surrounded by left and right “<" signs went invisible when posted. Just doesn't read the same without them. Oh well…

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6 09 2010
Dave

Hey! Get back to work! Seriously, DA, good luck with the contest.

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