We have a winner…

…and the winner is, well, me of course!

A long time ago, in a Chili’s restaurant not so very far away, one of my nearest and dearest friends challenged me to a contest of epic proportions: to write the complete rough draft of an entire novel in the span of one month’s time.  I flippantly agreed to undertake it, but I don’t think I was really particularly serious about it…

Funny thing though, she was.  She even gave me specific dates.  My rough draft was to be due by before the clock stuck midnight on May 31st, 2010.  And then, the thought began to percolate that maybe–just maybe–I might, kind of want to do this crazy, impossible thing after all.

So I read the book that she loaned me, Chris Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem!”  It was brilliant and amazing–and you should of course read it too.  More importantly, it made me think that maybe this crazy, impossible thing wouldn’t be quite so impossible after all.

So I set out to find a topic and nothing would come to me.  No matter how hard I tried, my brain just could not accept a new idea.  Period.  See, I’d been working on a novel for a very, very, very long time and my brain did not want to give up precious “homeless guy” writing time to focus on something new and less “world-altering.”

On the morning of May 1st, I was still completely clueless.  And I had to meet my friend for breakfast and a writing session!  Frantic, I flipped through my notebooks and found a sheet of random observations scribbled in the back of said “homeless guy, world-altering” novel.  I had written them down the previous summer (did I mention I had been writing about “homeless guy” for nearly a year?!) as I sat in a hospital room waiting for my sister to give birth to her third baby girl.

So many weird things can happen in hospitals and it started to inspire me.  Then I got to thinking about all of my assorted friends and relations who either don’t want kids or can’t have them.  It made me feel sad for them because they would never experience how truly beautiful and amazing the birth of new life is. Even worse, so many people look down on them for not having kids.  I found myself wanting to write their story so that maybe the world wouldn’t treat them quite so badly anymore…

And thus, on the morning of May 1st at IHOP, Sucker Synonymous was born.

She has been a very difficult child to raise to adulthood–you know the type that laugh at you and shoot spit balls at your back.  Yes, she’s been a most disobedient child.  At times, I’ve wanted to chuck her into the fire and be done with it.  Instead, I held on, determined to reach my 50,000 word goal if it killed me.

I did really well with the writing on schedule at first–1667 words really isn’t all that many once you actually stop complaining each day and start writing.  However, real life did not want me to succeed in my mission and it quickly sought to interfere with my plans…much to my immense displeasure.

There is a four letter word that is more dirty than any other in the English language.  We call it “work.”

So yes, work interfered with my writing schedule and soon I found myself thousands of words behind with only one week left to complete my mission.  Determined to finish, I set to writing like I had never done before.  I started writing 3000, 4000, 5000 words a day…anything to get caught up.  Then yesterday, it hit me that today would in fact be the dreaded May 31st deadline…and that I was still 10,000 words behind.

I didn’t give up though.  I just kept writing like mad.  I wrote the final two chapters today in an epic writing marathon that will probably lead to carpal tunnel sometime in the very near future.  But I can’t bring myself to care about the pain, or the popping that starts up in my joints each time I move my fingers.  I can’t even bring myself to worry about the dent in my middle finger that doesn’t push back out on its own anymore.  Nope, I couldn’t care less.  Because today I literally wrote 10,501 words!!! And, perhaps more importantly, I had just written “Then End” and thrown my pen down in a grand flourish when the clock at work chimed midnight…

My novel was completed literally seconds before the clock ran out and stands at an impressive 50,264 words!!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of myself before!  I’m practically tingling from giddiness…

Don’t get me wrong, it is not at all complete.  It is a rough draft and is, I’m certain, full of all kinds of crappiness since I wasn’t allowed to edit during the writing process.  But I love it for its crappiness.  I love it for its flaws as I love it equally for the gems that I know are waiting withing its pages.  I love it for what I know it will become during editing…

…I love it because I finished it…

PS: Valerie, I owe you more than I can ever say or repay.  Thank you for making my take on something that I know has changed me–not only as a writer, but as a person as well…

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2 Responses to We have a winner…

  1. Valerie says:

    This makes me really, really, REALLY happy!!! 🙂 I am so very, very proud of you! I knew you could do it! And it might not happen right away but this will mean really good writing things for you. I couldn’t get off my ass to finish anything and then I did NaNo the first time. That book was weird but it meant I knew I could do it and then I started and finished Fishsticks! The 2nd NaNo I did, you read it a few months ago – weird but happy about it. To people like us who spend too much time thinking about doing things and not enough time actually doing them, its worth its weight in gold. So proud of you!!!! :)) Now if I can finish my book I’d be proud of me too. 🙂

  2. Pingback: I Don’t Know, I Didn’t Listen… | Prompts & Circumstances

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