Underneath my yellow skin

50,000 ways to write a novel

Let’s talk NaNoWriMo for a minute. Or, in my case, NaNo Rebel. As I’ve mentioned, I have no problem writing 50,000 words in a month (that’s not a humblebrag. Just an outright brag) and I’ve long since decided to do my own thing instead of holding down the basics. Another rule of NaNoWriMo is that you start the novel on the first day of the month and not a moment before. I found that to be restrictive as well because I was usually in the middle of something by the time November arrived. This time, I already had 25,000 words written and I was aiming for 100,000 more. I’d done it before for NaNoWriMo before–and more–but this year is not like any other. *waves at the world around me*

My meta-goal is to finish this novel by the end of the year. The other two novels in this trilogy are roughly 230,000 words each and I see this one being similar. That means 100,000 words in November and 100,000 in December. I have a 20,000-word excerpt that I wrote during the last novel which I decided fit better with this one. I don’t know where I’m going to pop it in, but I’ll find a place for it. It’s not finished, either, and it has some implications for the bigger picture. I’m also going off on a weird tangent that may or may not make it into the final product. It’s interesting and sheds a light on a character who was minor in the second book, but is emerging as a main player in the third.

I’m interested in doing a side project that has a short story about each character’s backstory. I’m not sure I’m going to do it, but this weird side tangent is similar to that. While my original goal is to finish this novel by the end of the month, there’s another part of me that is more interested in going off on all these tangents. I don’t know if it’s because of my usual distaste for the end of things or because I truly just want to remain with these characters. They seem to have more to say and it’s not necessarily related to the main story. It’s like the sidequests in video games–they may not be necessary for the main game, but they certainly make things more interesting.

This book is really interesting in that I know how the last fifty pages are going to go–until the very end. I don’t know how I’m getting there and the motivation for the main character I previously mentioned has drastically changed. I had one idea in mind for her and then one day, another idea hit me. I liked the second idea better and could make it fit with the rest of the story. Now, I’m building for that end, but I’m not sure how it fits in with the bigger picture.

It’s good that I have this side stuff to invigorate me because I’m struggling with the main story. I don’t know how to get where I need to be, which is why I’m taking all these side trips.

My main point of this post is that right now for anyone struggling to be creative is to do the best you can. Back in the day, I would write fiction for hours on end. That was in the Before Times. Now, I write for twenty minutes (or ten if it’s all I can manage), do a few floors in Hades, go back to writing, etc. On occasion, I have been able to write for longer, mostly by sternly telling myself to write a thousand words before doing anything else. I don’t want to use that too often, though, because I’m really not trying to make this a chore. I mean, it is. But it’s not the best for my creativity if I grit my teeth and think of the Queen of England. That’s why I’m flitting about doing other things.

I’m writing this on November 15th and I already have 50,000 words in the bag. To be honest, I had my doubts that I would make it, but I kept plugging away at it. I need to feel as if I’m doing something given *waves at the world behind her* Covid cases are dramatically rising in Minnesota. The MN GOP are acting like entitled assholes. They had a party to celebrate the election results and did not wear masks. Three of them contracted the coronavirus and they did not tell the DFL before a special session, but did tell the rest of the GOPers. They also didn’t tell the convention center where it was held.

I mean….

I can’t even.


I’m so tired of the coronavirus. Not just the virus itself, but of the sheer stupidity of, and, yes, I’m going to say it, the Republicans.

Oh, but Minna, it’s not political! Let’s not make it political. Fuck that shit. It’s fucking political and we all know it. By the way, YouTube just suggested this video by Anderson Cooper. In it, he says what is true–this president’s bullshit to overturn the election doesn’t matter. He gets teary when talking about Covid and what really matters about that. It’s refreshing to see someone in mainstream journalism just lay it out there.

He’s right. None of what is going on right now with this current president grifting his supporters for money, purportedly to fund his lawsuits but not if you read the fine print, matters. The coronavirus? That matters. How this president is handling it? It also matters. But all his hot air and bloviating? None of it fucking matters. Anderson Cooper’s anger and pain is so raw and real, and I really wish we had more of that honesty in the news. Nothing he said was lies or biased, but he didn’t hide behind a veneer of impartiality.

The numbers keep rising. And rising. We keep having the ‘most cases in a day’ happening and it’s not only because there is more testing. My governor who did so well in the beginning is disappointing me now. Cutting back on the hours that restaurants and bars are open isn’t going to do jack or shit. Cutting back to 10 p.m., by the way. I don’t understand that at all. It’s not as if the coronavirus is politely waiting until 10 p.m. before infecting people. I guess it’s probably something to do with drinking, but still.

It’s political in a way it shouldn’t be, but here we are. Putting on a mask is a political act because the powers that be have made it such. The fact that President-Elect Biden has a coronavirus plan is an actual talking point because this president’s plan is to scoff and snort and pretend it’s not happening. Much like his M.O. for everything else he doesn’t like.

I’m done with it, but it’s not done with us. I was just telling Ian that this year has been simultaneously the longest year and the shortest year ever. I don’t know how both these things can be true, but there you have it. No wonder I’m focusing so hard on NaNo Rebel. It gives me something positive to focus on and that’s all I can ask for right now.

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