Progress Report from the Pits of NaNoWriMo

I had set a goal for myself to cross the fifty-thousand line tomorrow. It’s going to take some serious typing to make that happen. I’m not optimistic. A couple of days ago I told the light of my life that when I crossed the 50K threshold I’d drop this steamer in mid-sentence and get back to what I should be working on.

My pace has slowed the last couple of days, and it’s a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that this is still a steaming pile of verbiage and I should be dedicating myself to words elsewhere. Slowing down means another day or two writing words that no one will ever read. The good news is that I finally wrote a scene that measures up to the opening. It needs to be tightened, but I like it.

If you read the little starter bit I posted some time ago, you will recall a character who is lost and alone, known only as Jane Doe. She has no memory of who she is or how she came to be in the hospital. All she knows is that she’s somehow different than the people around her, although common sense dictates that she’s not all that different.

One thing I surprised myself with was how little of the story I’ve told through her point of view. I think the alien is sometimes best expressed through other’s eyes. By moving the frame of reference she becomes more of an enigma. (I don’t think this applies so much in movies; in film we are always observing from outside.)

A couple of nights ago I grew tired of the blah blah blah as people yapped about what to get at the store tomorrow just in case the spinach wasn’t satisfactory (not really but close enough), and I thought about the key moment of the story, when our strange specimen must make a choice. It turns out she was the architect of her own dislocation, so she could be bait and trap both to kill the Really Bad Guy.

But like all elaborate plans, this one doesn’t work out quite the way is was drawn on the chalkboard, even as she must admit that the Really Bad Guy has some valid points. So the other night as I grew weary of steamy Angel-on-Demon sex (actually, there is none of that, despite my best intentions – and now I think I need to have ADD sex and cut away in the middle) and thought about just how this choice Jane must make would manifest. I got an idea that made me happy (it takes about 60 seconds to fall 14,000 feet) an off I went, writing (at last) a scene I could be proud of.

There’s a pretty major gap in the narrative right now, what with them being imprisoned in a house in a nice suburb of Hoboken one moment and falling to their deaths the next, but that’s how things go sometimes. Oh, yeah, there was a dead body on the floor back in Hoboken.

Now I just have to wrap it up with a sweet metaphor and go back in and add 7000 words of steamy sex (or grocery shopping) and 50K is in the bag. Maybe not by tomorrow, though.

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