The title of this blogpost happens to be the title of my work-in-progress (WIP) at NaNoWriMo (see widget to the left). It’s actually the whimsical title of a couple of galaxies, which was the Astronomy Picture of the Day on October 12. For lack of a better title for a WIP, I stole this.
I have no clue how to write a novel, in spite of having taken a few writing classes and having read a few books on writing (including Stephen King’s “On Writing”). My cluelessness may be due to the fact that I have never written any fiction longer than a short-story. But the idea behind the National Novel Writing Month is to just put the words down – 50,000 in all – by midnight November 30.
Still, that leaves the challenge of having words to put down. I submitted over 1300 words (daily target should be closer to 1700) on Nov. 1. I got bogged down in some goings on between two characters that I didn’t know the end of, and one of them I had given such a trendy name to, that I got irritated every time I typed it. (My apologies to those of you who really are named Shawna.) It’s rather amusing that ideas that spring out of one’s own brain can be as annoying as a real-life situation. So, yesterday I had to start over.
I butchered my 2005 Pema Chödrön calendar, ditching all the gorgeous photographs except one, but saving every monthly quote about the journey of the bodhisattva – the spiritual warrior. Because they say to write what you know, and all I really know is about spiritual quest, trying to work out the hows and whys of not only my life, but the whole planet’s, and what exactly is this god thingy. Because I like there to be a reason, a purpose to all of this and dessert afterwards. So I hung up a cork board (with apologies to Grandma’s painting that was hanging there), decorated it with some beads, tacked the monthly quotes to it, and started over last night. I typed in the first quote, and inspired by it, made it to over 1900 words, which is good for one day, but I’m still behind. No matter. That’s what weekends are for.
Here’s where the fun begins, and which many writers have mentioned before: The characters in your head start to take on their own lives, and go in directions you hadn’t thought of. I thought my protagonist was going to be the teacher, but the teacher turned out to be my intended rape victim who wasn’t raped after all (and here I was thinking that the writers of soap operas must be loopy…). I went to bed last night, actually looking forward to what these two would do next. Which is exactly how it should be. I also hope that by writing a (short) book based on these buddhistic quotes, I may actually understand what they mean.
In case you’re wondering, here is the quote:
The dharma – the Buddha’s teaching – is about letting go of the story line and opening to what is to people in our life, to the situations we’re in, to our thoughts, to our emotions. We have a certain life, and whatever life we’re in is a vehicle for waking up.