It’s official. I’ve made it past the first half of my National Novel Writing Month challenge. Sometime early this week I turned the half-way mark in my 50,000 word novel. If I don’t write one more word, this will be a huge accomplishment for me. I’ve never written anything longer than a twenty page term paper in college. And even that was double spaced with slightly larger than average font size.
Now that I’ve gotten this far, I am even more inspired to write. I’m still getting up early in the mornings to write—yesterday I actually woke two minutes before my alarm went off at 5:15. I want to write—all the time. I steal moments here and there. Yesterday, I wrote before the kids were awake, before my shift started, and on my 30 minute lunch break. I planned to close my eyes in the parking lot at James’ school while I waited for the bell to ring. Car pick up is not unlike the 8th circle of hell if you don’t arrive half an hour before school gets out. I had pounded out enough words that day. My wrists were sore and my eyes were dry. It was time for a break. Then, without thinking about it I pulled out my computer and skipped the nap. I’m obsessed.
Is it pure literary bliss? No. Plenty of what I’m writing is pure 100% grade A garbage. Fortunately there are bright spots that I really like. I was flipping through earlier parts of the book to try to remind myself what I named one of the minor characters and I came across a little jewel. The scene is in a bar. Michaela’s close circle of friends have arranged for a babysitter and “kidnapped” her so she can have a night out. At the bar, she sees Adam who she met for the first time earlier that day when he found and returned her lost purse. Michaela’s friend Laverne says this to her:
“You should ask the waitress to send him a beer. Beer is one of the best ways to a man’s heart—beer, bacon and sex. And do it quick. You know that man isn’t sticking around to watch karaoke.”
Laverne is one of the minor characters in the book. But I love writing her. She is a great friend to Michaela. She has plenty of baggage, but instead of letting it drag her down, it moves her to help her friends with their burdens. Laverne’s language is colorful and honest. When I’m writing her dialogue, my fingers fly on the key board. She’s going to need her own story told at some point.
Several of the characters have had their names changed. Peter, Michaela’s late husband started off as Barry. Michaela’s children went from Johnny and Brianna to Brian and Paige. But I chose the name Laverne almost like a place marker. I had no intention of keeping it but the more I write her the more she becomes Laverne.
I’ve thrown a little curve into my writing schedule this week. While attending a local production of Lend Me a Tenor, a friend told me the group was still in need of two actresses for their upcoming production of The Odd Couple. I agreed to show up on Tuesday night and read for the part. I got the part of Cecily Pigeon—a flighty English Divorcee and one of only two female characters in the play. I’m really excited to get back on stage. I haven’t been in a play since the kids were born and it will be interesting to see how I balance it with NaNoWriMo. How hard could it be? Right?