My NaNoNovel: The Sofa Whisperer

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It may look like I’m racing ahead with this whole NaNo thing, I’m averaging 2000 words a day and am predicted to finish well before the end of November. But every morning I wake up full of fear: fear that I might not manage to find time to write, fear that I won’t be able to think of anything to write about, fear that it’s going to stop being fun. The one thing I’m not afraid of is that my story might be a bit crap. And the reason for that is this: I already know it’s a bit crap.

I have my reasons for going with a crap story:

Firstly, I wanted something silly to write about. I figured the whole thing would be hard enough without having to get all serious.

Secondly, I wanted to use this as a trial run, and I wasn’t sure that using an idea that I really cared about would work. I thought I’d probably get bogged down trying to make it perfect and that’s not what NaNoWriMo is about.

And thirdly, by the time I actually decided to do NaNo I had about five seconds to think of something to write about. This is what I came up with. Which just goes to show that pressure and great ideas don’t mix.

And just in case you don’t believe it can possibly be as bad as I say, here it is: a short synopsis and a very brief extract from my (slightly daft) NaNoNovel.

Title: The Sofa Whisperer

Synopsis: Layla is your average teenage kick-boxing, angry bundle of hormones, until the day she discovers she can talk to furniture. Confused by this development, she sets off on a quest to find her mother, some answers and a footstool called George.

Excerpt:

I’ve located the source of the sobbing, sort of. It seems to be coming from the sofa. I wonder if there’s someone trapped in there, maybe one of the delivery men. I didn’t pay much attention to them but I’m pretty sure I saw them all leave.

I dive into the sofa anyway, pulling the cushions off and piling them up on the floor. There’s nothing there and I feel a bit stupid for checking. There’s not even any room to hide anything. Anyway, the sound’s stopped for now.

The doorbell rings and Dad must’ve peeked out the window from his study because he calls down,
‘It’s the postman. Can you get it?’

‘If it’s bills, can I kick him?’ I yell up the stairs. I’m only half joking. I haven’t kicked anyone in ages and I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms.

‘No kicking, Layla,’ Dad says, ‘That’s what got us into this mess to start with.’

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34,000 words in, there’s a proper (if slightly insane) story in there, complete with hippy mother, ninja triplets and a girl who makes origami when she gets nervous. I’m really enjoying it. There’s about a hundred plot holes, a few characters who’ve been abandoned on the way and some seriously cringe worthy sentence structures. The whole thing is totally unpublishable, but that’s okay because I’m having a laugh and I’m writing. And if it’s true that your first million words don’t count, then at least I’m closer to some that do.

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Best of luck to all NaNoNuts out there. Keep tapping away at that keyboard!

NaNoDreamOn: how am I ever going to write 50,000 words in 30 days?

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After months of anticipation, it’s almost time. I’m wiping my feet on the Welcome mat outside the door to the NaNoWriMo House of Fun. So, why do I have a sudden urge to pick up my petticoats and run as fast as I can in the opposite direction?

Here’s my five stages of NaNoWriMo:

  1. CURIOSITY: 50,000 words in a month? Sounds intriguing. I wonder if I could do that? How does it work? Where do I sign up? Do I get a prize (shameless reward-seeker that I am)?
  2. RESEARCH: Questions, yay! That means research, and that means many mindless hours browsing the internet. My fave occupation.
  3. EXCITEMENT: I think I can actually do this! I may even write the greatest novel of all time. I’ll win awards and buy a big house and a chauffeur.
  4. PLANNING: Time to get ready. I can’t just expect to go into this completely blind (pumped as I am with an unrealistic belief in NaNo’s ability to spin my words into gold). I need characters, settings, story arcs. I need an idea. I litter the floor with scraps, scribbling, post-its. I’m ready. I’m so ready.
  5. THE FEAR, or rather the sheer blind panic. Why did I ever think I could do this? 1,666 words a day? Every day? For a whole month? Am I deluded? I’m a short story writer, I don’t even do novels. As they say in comic-land, aaaaAAARRRGGH!

And that’s where I am now, Stage Five. I’m hoping there’s a Stage Six or a fast track back to Stage Three (I really enjoyed that one), but for now I’m just going to crawl back under the duvet of despair and hibernate.

Wake me up when it’s December.

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