Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Write! Words! Words in Sentences!

So yeah. Wrote a book and all.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but TOOT FUCKING TOOT.

Seriously though guys, I have to say that I learned a lot in writing a novel in a month.

First of all, I really really really want to be a writer when I grow up. Almost as bad as I want to be an evil wizard.

Second, writing can be a group activity. The more awkward it is, the more you will get done in order to block out your real life situation. I wrote almost five thousand words in three hours one day because I was so uncomfortable.* 

*I was sitting at a table with a couple of students. I was completely weirded out by hanging out with high schoolers who were half my age in a setting where they were my peers.  I tried to relate to them in some way, and instead ended up rambling on like a huge dweeb. At one point, the girl asked me if I had kids or was planning to have kids. I said, "Yeah, probably not. For some reason I can imagine having teenagers, but not children." "Ew," said the boy, "That's a disgusting image." I didn't mean give birth to teenagers, but there was no going back. If I refuse to look at them, maybe my embarrassment would go away. Type type type.

 I always thought I liked silence for writing. It turns out I like to listen to music.** And I have bad taste in music.*** I will never be hipster now.****

**It started out that I just wanted to block out the surrounding sounds. The sound of a computer game, the sound of that couple over there arguing about leaving hair on the soap, that guy taking that order, that girl who just spilled her coffee... I know, great material, and blah blah blah, but mostly it was just annoying. So I put on my iPod and set it to shuffle, much as I do for work.

**For some reason I was listening to Coldplay a lot (please don't ask me why I have not one but two Coldplay albums. Please, just leave it), even though my Rob Zombie was a bit more appropriate to what I was writing. I took out my ear buds and the teenagers at my table were talking music. The cool girl (with the perfectly shaped head, I could tell because it was shaved) was arguing with the boy. They were obviously friends, and possibly trying to act cool in front of me.  Or maybe they were really just that in to music.  Anyway, the girl was arguing that Nickelback was the best band in the world because they were so diverse and played so many genres. All I know about Nickelback is that Detroit tried to get them banned from playing at some game for the NFL, and lots of people seem to really hate them. Lots of people also hate Coldplay, though, so maybe that means I would like them.  

When Boyfriend and I were in Flagstaff after our Grand Canyon adventure, we went into a convenience store so we could get some beer. I was paying and I handed the guy my money. "And you get a nickel back," he said, "Ha ha ha, that's what's playing right now! Nickelback!"  I smiled politely. He could get away with sounding like a huge dork because he looked a bit like a biker, all big and tattooed up. Come to think of it, he also had a shaved head. On second thought, I could never be a Nickelback fan.  My head is oddly shaped, and I would just end up looking like Lonnie the banjo boy in Deliverance if I shaved my head according to this apparent Nickelback convention.  Best to stick with my current plan of not even knowing what they sound like.

****Not that I would want to be. Being hipster is so yesterday. I didn't want to be hipster before any of you ever even heard of hating hipsters.

 I killed a lot of characters in my book, but the only one I feel bad about is the kitten.

No one can ever see this book. At least until I do a massive revision. I still haven't read it. I am a little bit afraid to.*****

***** No really. I tried to read it, and I couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand reading it. It made my head hurt. I don't know if it was that bad or if I am just sick of it. I've started writing a children's book instead of editing my current book. I think I'll wait until January when I'm depressed anyway, before I look at it again.

It is easy to mix up rural Nebraska and rural Kansas in your head.****** I might need to change the seasons or something, as I think I used the layout for the Nebraska house in a scene that happened in Kansas. Damnit.

****** Especially when you have never spent any time in either place, only driven through, as God intended.

All stories that take place in Kansas should have tornadoes. Its better than a deus ex machina when your plot is getting stale, only better because the situation is not resolved, but made worse.*******
 *******Seriously, I seem to enjoy torturing my characters a LOT.  What does this say about me as a person?  I am thinking it is a good thing that I will not procreate. 

I seem to like writing about things burning down. There are multiple fires.

It is possible to write a novel in a month while working full time and commuting (but it might make you crazy then you'll and over italicize the fuck out of your next blog post). 


Stephanie said...

I'm also leaving mine untouched and unread until January. While I loved writing it, I felt like I was sucked into a dark pit of despair. I was so mean to my main character.

Anonymous said...

Um. if you write about fire you wet the bed...

Paula said...

I need to read this book! Congrats on finishing it!

MakingSpace said...

Congrats! I'm wondering now if Steven King has some competition?

StephanieC said...

I'm... so... confused.

I max out at two asterisks.

All I know is that you LOVE LOVE Nickelback and want to shave your head.

I got it right, right?



Leauxra said...

Stephanie: Yes! I should never have tried to read it. It was a bad idea. It has colored everything in my life an unfortunate shade of fuschia.

hoody: HOW DID YOU KNOW- Wait. I mean, What are you talking about?

Paula: Thanks. Currently, though, I would rather stab my eyes than read it, so it might be a little while.

Makingspace: Hah. I didn't put in nearly enough sex for this to be a Stephen King novel. In my defense, the main characters were pre-teens.

StephanieC: Don't worry, I am confused, too. I'll send pics of my shaved head. Wait, what?

Kyle said...

That is awesome you finished! I tried but only made it about a week and half (aka 13,000 ish words) which is a pretty big failure. Next year will be different. Or so I say now.

Congrats on finishing!

Leauxra said...

Thanks, Kyle! I have a slight confession though... once November was over, I just kinda outlined the last couple of chapters and saved the file. Later, later. I will deal with it later. Or I will print it out and burn it. Either way, it was fun.

And you can TOTALLY do it next year. I somehow got it in my head that there was no excuse not to write every day during November. It isn't working out so well now that it's December.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for that manuscript. I have my red pen at the ready. You said not to be nice, remember? That's like showing a red pen to a bull. Or something. Let's do this!

So, if you are a Nickleback fan, you have no hair? Is this some sort of epidemic I was previously unaware of? Because maybe that's why Detroit was so adverse . . . they didn't want people liking the band, shaving their heads and then freezing to death this winter. It gets cold in Detroit, yo!

Leauxra said...

Misty: You BETTER be mean. But I have to look it over at least once before I inflict this thing on anyone else. Since I refuse to look it over before January 1, expect it the last week of Janurary or the first of February. I will email you when I am ready to let someone else look at it.

Leauxra said...

Oh yeah, and also Misty: I guess that's true that Nickelback fans shave their heads. I think. I have only met two self-professed fans and they had shaved heads.

Keith said...

I'm weirded out by teenagers period. As near as I can see, their only useful purpose is for medical testing. They won't do useful work, and annoy everyone around them while they aren't doing it.

Nickelback. I don't think I've ever heard any of their music. Coldplay either. But then, I think the Beatles and Rolling Stones are new and dangerous music, and very little since then qualifies as music. Which maybe explains teenagers.

I would feel bad about the kitten too. I don't think I could do it. Teenagers, yes, easily. By the trainload.

Nebraska and Kansas really are the same place. There is just an artificial line drawn down the middle of it so the government can put more porkers on the payroll.

One of the best tools to develop characters is asking "what's the worst thing that could happen to them?" Except with teenagers, there isn't really a worse thing that could happen to them.

Leauxra said...

Keith: I have to agree with you about teenagers. I think we should stop animal testing and start testing on teenagers.

I'll be honest that I kind of like weirdo indy pop most of the time, which is why Coldplay is a weird one... it is very mainstream pop. I have never actually heard Nickelback. I am a particular fan of Mumford and Sons right now, which I would recommend to anyone who wants something new that doesn't suck.

There is also not much difference between eastern Colorado and Nebraskansas... anything east of interstate 25 should simply be absorbed by those two states.

Also: thank you, you make me laugh. There really isn't anything worse that you can do to a teenager than having them BE teenagers. Hah!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finishing your book! You killed a kitten?

Leauxra said...

Thoughtsy: Thanks, and yes. Something is terribly terribly wrong with my brain that it came up with that. The kitten got eaten and... ah... spread around a little bit. WHY DID I WRITE THAT!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, I just reread my comment. Adverse? Of course I meant AVERSE. Wait, are you sure you want me editing that book of yours? Jeesh.

Oh, and Mumford & Sons rock. They are one of my new favorite bands. I even did a post about them way back when, in my wee days of blogging:

Leauxra said...

Misty: No, no, you'll be fine. And you're probably better at English than I am... I read a lot so most of what I learned is through osmosis. It's been nigh on 20 years since I took an English comp course.

Also, I think I just like that the M&S (Mumford and Sons, not to be confused with S&M) actually sing and play their instruments. And don't appear to autotune their harmonies. Win!

PudMonkey said...

Mumford and Sons are totally rocking my socks RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!

And, um, yeah. I would totally make fun of you about Coldplay, but I think I have two of their CDs, too. *hangs head in shame*

And that bit about Nebraskansas and Eastern Colorado...Sooo true.

Leauxra said...

PudMonkey: You see? So back in the old days when there were "audio tapes" that you could play in a "tape deck" in the car, I had this theory that all tapes in the car would end up being the best of Queen. I think Coldplay follows a similar principal. It doesn't matter if you bought it or not. Everyone owns at least one album...

Love said...

I laughed out loud the whole way through this post.

I want to read this novel you wrote.

Having family from Kansas (who hate the huskers in Nebraska) I agree with you that it's best to just drive right on through. If you ever need details though, I can help, as I have spent many long hours there... not driving through, but absorbing the strangely uncomfortable energy from the state.