Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 10: The blues

Today was a pretty rough day.  I was feeling really down in general, and particularly about writing.  I think that it's so lonely to be a writer at times.  I'm always rather leery of telling people that I'm writing a novel because they react in one of two ways:

1) They think it's awesome and amazing that I'm writing a novel.  The people who say this often also express the wish that they could sit down and write a novel.  This is a good reaction, and I like it.  It makes me feel good to know that some people view my writing as an ambitious and admirable project.

2) They look at me kind of funny and are sort of patronizing about it.  You know, something like, "Oh, you're writing a novel?  How nice."  I always picture their inner monologue as being something like this, "She's writing a novel?  That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.  Like it'll ever be published.  Good luck with THAT pie-in-the-sky dream, sweetheart!"

I have to confess that I often feel like response number two is the one I'm getting.  It's like people do that smile and nod thing.  You know, the thing you do when someone says something and you have no idea how you can possibly respond to it because it's either outrageously stupid or outrageously offensive (or a combination of both), so you just smile and nod.

Well, today was a day when I felt like the whole world was smiling and nodding at me.  Not good.

However, I did come to a realization about my novel.  I'm trying to make a statement with it, and I realized that the first part of the novel isn't achieving what I want it to achieve.  This might sound like a bad thing and it would be if I hadn't realized what I could do to fix it so that it would achieve what I wanted it to. 

The problem is that it's going to require some extensive rewrites, which is something that's not in keeping with the spirit of NaNoWriMo.  So, in the interest of adhering to the NaNoWriMo idea, I resisted the urge to edit.  Instead, I added some things and then continued on with my story, promising myself that I will go back and rewrite when I've officially "completed" the manuscript.

Yes, this will be a pretty major change in the structure of my novel, but I know it's going to make it better, so I'm not bothered by that.  All in all, it was a pretty weird day, considering I had the icky feeling that no one is taking me seriously coupled with an epiphany about my book that I think will make it much better.

Also, I recently found out that the novels "Water for Elephants" and "The Night Circus" started out as NaNoWriMo drafts.  Considering how phenomenally successful those books are, I KNOW there's something to this NaNoWriMo idea.  Sometimes, you've just got to reach out and grab for the brass ring, even if everyone you know thinks you're crazy and/or foolish for doing it.

***

“Letizia, I’m going to turn the flashlight on.  I need to see how badly you’re wounded.”

“No...light,” Letizia whispered.

“I don’t have a choice.  I have to examine your head.  I’ll keep the light covered as much as possible.”

Before Letizia could protest any further, Dara pulled out the flashlight.  It was fairly small, so she was able to cup her palm around it.  Though the light was far from concealed, Dara figured it was better than nothing.  She shone it on Letizia’s head and was unable to keep herself from gasped.  Dark blood crusted Letizia’s hair and oozed from the wound at her temple.  It was a sizable gash, and Dara felt certain it needed to be patched, though that was far beyond her skill set.  The flying grit and dust had begun to accumulate in both the wound and the blood in Letizia’s hair, and Dara knew she had to get it cleaned and covered lest Letizia wind up with a terrible infection.

“I’ll try to be as gentle as possible, but this is going to hurt,” she warned Letizia softly as she shone the light on her bag, digging through its contents.  She found a sterile wipe, some gauze, and some tape.  It would have to do until Letizia could receive professional medical care.

As quickly as she could, Dara cleaned the wound.  Letizia sucked in a breath, and Dara bit her lip, knowing she was hurting the other woman.  If she’d had both hands free, she probably could have been a lot gentler about it, but she’d have been forced to put the light in her mouth which would mean she wouldn’t be able to do much to conceal its beam. They were both silent as Dara finished cleaning the wound.

When she finished, Dara was slick with sweat and she swiped her forearm over her eyes.  There was still a lot of blood crusted in Letizia’s hair, but now was not the time to worry about that.  Awkwardly, she covered the wound with gauze and taped it down as securely as she could.  She looked around for a second, trying to figure out what to do with the bloody wipe and the wrapper from the gauze.

What the hell, Dara?  This isn’t the dome.  You’re not going to find a conveniently located trash chute.  Just drop the garbage on the ground.

Letting out a shaky breath, Dara did so and then flicked the light off.  Groping in the bag, she felt the contours of one of the water bottles and she pulled it out, uncapping it and handing it to Letizia before she felt around for the second.

“Small sips,” Dara cautioned.  “I don’t know how long it’ll need to last.”

“Not sure...I can.  Stomach...” Letizia moaned softly.

“I know you’re feeling nauseated, but you have to take at least a few sips.  You can’t let yourself become dehydrated.  Here, I’ll help you,” Dara said, setting her bottle aside and taking Letizia’s.  She managed to coax Letizia to take two small sips before the other woman gagged, spilling the contents of her stomach over the dry, crusted earth.

Now Dara was very worried.  She was quite certain Letizia had a concussion on top of her head wound.  The adrenaline from their flight away from the transport was beginning to wear off, and Dara could feel panic setting in.

“Do you know how stupid it is to use a light out here?” a low voice growled.