The Ticking Clock

Less than three weeks remain until this year’s NaNoWriMo kick-off.  I’ve spent a little time over there updating my profile, changing my picture, and dusting off the cobwebs.  I’ve explained again to all of my non-writers in my life that I will not be available for the month of November.  The family has been advised that, yes indeed, I will again be making a sandwich out of Thanksgiving dinner so that I can keep a hand free for writing.   Since I tend to eat terribly during NaNo, I’ve planned ahead this year and am stocking the freezer with homemade foods that  actually have more nutritional content than my writing notebooks (although probably not as much fiber!).  The tea cabinet is  already stocked full of Earl Grey, lavender, and chamomile.  The notebooks are laid aside with a pile of pens on top.  In short, I’m taking a page from the Boy Scouts and being prepared this year.

Just one wee little thing is missing.  I still don’t know what I’m going to write. In a dream world, I’d already have a detailed outline written, characters sketches created, and at least one chapter fully formed in my brain.  Instead, I have this:












Yes, that is one big blank and that’s exactly what I have a the moment.  In a burst of forced enthusiasm, I dug up the outline and notes for a previous year’s NaNo that never actually came to fruition,  a little gem was to be titled Saligia, Inc.  For those of you who don’t have heads full of weird and obscure trivia, Saligia is a mnemonic device used to remember the Latin names of the seven deadly sins.  I’ll leave the meat and bones of the novel to your imagination for now, as I’m still not convinced that the novel is this year’s novel.

My enthusiasm for that story was usurped by two small pages of writing that I found tucked in among my notes. It’s a first draft of the beginning of a scene in which the narrator is watching an approaching storm.  It’s a scene without a story, without a novel, without even a complete sentence at the end.  In spite of its brevity, I was entranced and sucked into the scene, which usually only happens when I read the work of others. To turn it into a NaNo novel would be- what’s the word I’m looking for?  Interesting?  Challenging?  Wait, I know – Really Bloody Difficult.  It’s one scene, for goodness’ sake, and an incomplete one at that.  Yet, the narrator hasn’t stopped talking in my head since I picked up those pages.  There’s nothing quite like having your characters go rogue and deciding that they are going to tell you their stories, whether you like it or  not.  Unfortunately, sticking my fingers in my ears and chanting “Lalalala” has not worked so far.  I may have a novel to write after all.

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