Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 4: The worry

Now that I have a fair portion of my novel under my belt, I'm starting to worry.  This is always the point in my writing where I start to fret about pacing.  There's this sort of magical balance between setting up the background of a story while also keeping the plot flowing so that the reader stays interested.  After all, who picks up a novel wanting to read an encyclopedia?  I always feel like this is the biggest tight-rope act in the writing process.

I think part of the wobbly feeling is provoked by the fact that the story is taking a different turn.  I'm not saying I thought my initial idea was pure genius, but it's always a little worrisome when things start going off in a bit of a different direction.  There's always a lot of worry about whether that direction will prove to be the right one or if it'll end up being some annoying, pointless detour on the road to the novel's end.

But, really, this is what editing is for, right?  You try something and if it doesn't work, you go back and fix it.  And then you fix it again.  And then you fix it some more.  As I was telling my daughter yesterday, writing is never really "finished".  I could edit each and everything I've ever written from now until kingdom come and still feel as though there are things that can be changed.

That said, here is an excerpt from today's writing:


Dara met Jonathan at the front door, and she told him all about the meeting next week, as well as Letizia’s offer of help.  He responded enthusiastically about the meeting, but there was a pensive look on his face.

            “Listen, Dara,” he said, as they stood outside of her door.  He glanced around him to be sure no one was within listening distance but, even so, he leaned closer to her and lowered his voice.  “Just be careful with Letizia, okay?”

            “What do you mean?” she asked, surprised.

            “It’s just...there may be a reason that she’s being so nice to you.”

            “But you said I was lucky she was taking me under her wing.”

            “I know, and you are.  It’s just that you can’t really know what’s going on.  Maybe she’s not as genuine as she seems.”

            “What?  You think she’s plotting against me or something?” Dara asked.  She didn’t know whether to be alarmed of disgusted.  She knew his concerns weren’t off base; it was not at all unusual for people to be very aggressive in their jockeying for position within the organization of a Job Creator; in fact, backstabbing was something of a norm.

            “I’m not really saying that, though maybe you can’t discount it entirely.  No, it’s more that her help may come with a price.”

            “You think she might ask me to return the favor at some point?”  Her voice dropped as she considered this thought.

            “Nothing in life is free,” he said.  Though his voice was gentle, she felt the starkness of his words.

            “Nothing, huh?” she asked, giving him a lopsided grin.

            He blanched a bit.  “Dara, I didn’t mean it like that.  You and I...”

            “No, forget it.  I didn’t mean it.  It was just a bad joke,” she told him hastily.

            He studied her for a moment, but then decided to accept her words.  “I’m just looking out for you.”

            She felt herself soften.  “I know, Jonathan.  You always have done that, and I’m always grateful for it.”

            “I just don’t ever want to see anyone steal your thunder.”

            “I’ll be careful, I promise.”