At any rate, I was composing in my head in the shower this morning (I know, I know--that shower thing again!), and I was pretty much raring to go. I like writing moments like these, where I know exactly what I want to say. Unfortunately, they often happen at times when I'm not planted in front of my screen, fingers poised over the keyboard. The risk in this situation is always that I'll forget about the awesome plot twist I devised, or that perfect phrase will slip from my mind. Some people are smart and have a handy little notebook at the ready where they can jot stuff like this down. Me, I'm not that smart.
Actually, I think what it boils down to is that I'm just not usually organized about my writing, which is weird since I alphabetize everything in my house (DVDs, books, spices on my spice rack--I kid you not). Instead, my writing tends to explode out of my brain with very little planning, which is why I am often to be found clutching my head and agonizing over how I'm possibly going to be able to edit this messy piece of work that I love so much. It's similar to those moments in motherhood when my child is smeared head to toe with a popsicle or the like, and I'm trying to decide which body part to wipe first without running the risk of a sticky mess ending up everywhere: it's overwhelming when you stand back and look at it, and sometimes you're tempted to ignore it, drink a latte, and call it a day.
I took a haphazard approach to NaNoWriMo last year and, while it proved to me that I can, in fact, crank out 50,000 words in a mere 30 days, it also resulted in a manuscript that was jumbled, that made no sense, and that wasn't usable in any way. This year, I decided I would be more methodical in my approach, and so I fired up my trusty OneNote and went to town creating tabs for characters, tabs for the setting, and tabs for pretty much everything else you can imagine. I was going to be organized!
I'm happy to say that it's so far, so good with this approach. I hit word number 1,667 and kept right on going because I wanted to finish the first chapter. Instead of my mind wandering, as it sometimes did when I was writing last year, I was focused. I knew where the story was going, knew what my characters were supposed to be like and, therefore, knew what was supposed to happen next. I have to say, I liked this. Now all I need to do is stop worrying about whether or not anyone will like the novel--as if that will ever happen. Are all writers a bundle of insecurity like me, I wonder?
And so, in the interest of really putting myself out there, each day I will post an excerpt from my day's work. This novel is my attempt at YA dystopian/speculative fiction. I'm providing a completely raw glimpse of what I'm writing, as I'm not allowing myself anything more than the most minor of edits as I write. I will write first, edit later. So, without further ado, have a look at a snippet from my Day 1 writing:
Whatever you do, do not throw up. Whatever you do, do not throw up. Whatever you do... the words played over and over in her head, like some sort of less-than-comforting mantra. Taking a deep breath in an attempt to steady her nerves—and stave off her nausea—Dara clasped her trembling hands in front of her, closed her eyes, and took several more breaths.
She opened her eyes and looked up at him. “I have, but this time just seems different somehow. I mean...This time it’s...” At a loss, she threw her hands up in frustration.
“And you will,” he said, and the quiet, unshakeable confidence in his voice went a long way toward soothing her nerves.