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Halfway there November 15, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Novel-writing month, Writing.
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It’s the middle of November, so halfway through National Novel Writing Month. And just tonight I officially reached the halfway point of the required 50,000 words, finishing today with 25,546 words and 88 pages of a Word document.

I am happy with my progress. Things have been busier than I anticipated this month, but that’s life. As for my story, well – it’s a first draft. The scope of what I’m trying to write about is way too broad and needs a much narrower focus. But I can’t really change it at this stage, in this draft. (Yes, there would be some benefits to doing an outline and preparing more for this before the month begins. Oh well, can’t do a thing about that now!)

I like Maggie, who’s trying to figure out what to do with her life as she turns 40 and has had only one successful relationship in her life: the one she has with her baseball team, the Cardinals. She’s smart and a smart-ass and an unhappy lawyer who lives in Chicago instead of her hometown of St. Louis and she loves baseball. And, though it’s not at all autobiographical, she loves Chris Carpenter. It’s taking place in 2006, because I liked the built-in happy ending of that baseball season. Maggie takes the month of September off work and goes to every Cardinals game, starting with her birthday on the 1st. (That’s why she’s a lawyer. I was trying to think of a career where she could make a lot of money to do such a thing. Maybe that’s not realistic either, but it’s a first draft!) Though I’m not writing about every game, only a few, a month plus the playoffs is still far too much to try to really cover.

It’s been interesting to go back and look at those games in September 2006. I’d forgotten how painful things really were during the seven-game losing streak that ended during the last week of the season, where the Cards nearly coughed up a seven-game lead. (Perhaps that’s because I choose to remember only the good, and there was a lot of good once October arrived.) I’ve found two players listed in box scores who I have no recollection of whatsoever: John Nelson and Mike Rose, bit players even by September call-up standards. Aaron Miles makes an appearance in my story, an actual speaking part. (Why? He seemed logical at 4:30 one morning last week.) There’s a major intrusion by a character, Kyle, I wasn’t even planning to have in this story at all – he’s from my “Summer of ’94” story, only obviously older and in a different dynamic when he meets Maggie. (Of course it was at a ballgame.)

I have vague ideas of where this is going. As with most of my stories, I do know by now where it’s going to end. It’s the getting from here to there that always presents the challenge. And, as in past NaNos, I might be skipping chunks of time (to fill in later) just to move the story along.

One thing I do know: I have to finish on Nov. 29, because I’m going out of town for work on Nov. 30. But I would like to be done before then anyway – Nov. 28 is my goal, since it would be nice to finish it on the weekend. I’m doubtful that I will be much beyond 50,000 words this year, but that’s okay. The challenge has been worth it, and I’m looking forward to the end result … so I can start to get a grasp on what this story really should be. There are enough interesting bits in the current wide meanderings that I’m looking forward to diving back into it and shaping it into something much better.

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Comments»

1. MM - November 16, 2010

I’m so glad you’re happy with the work you’ve accomplished! Can’t wait to read it! Creating and accomplishing any goal is a GREAT thing!

Love,

MM

2. J O'Brien - November 16, 2010

Takes a good deal of discipline to pound out a 50,000 word novel in one month. Cardinal fans will love the 2006 theme. Looking forward to reading the finished product.

3. That’s a winner! « Christine Coleman - November 29, 2010

[…] I wrote two weeks ago, the story is kind of a mess. It didn’t miraculously get better as I wrote more and more. But […]


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