Monday, 12 November 2012

NaNoWriMo and Distractions Galore

Edgar Allen Poe may have continued writing through joy, sorrow, hunger, thirst, sunshine and moonshine, but I know for sure he never had the distraction of deleting his entire iTunes library from a computer and then finding only half of it remained in the recycle bin. That was my big distraction on Sunday 11th November. I guess I could just sync to the iPod, but I only ever listen to the music on my laptop, so haven’t bothered to update it for two years and don’t want to lose anything I’ve added in the meantime.

He's going be a new character in my novel.
Anyway, them’s my computer woes, and they came after going to a family birthday on Friday night, staying up late imbibing too much and not writing on Saturday. So a grand total of 942 words ended up being written over the weekend, putting me 2K behind, which I should be able to catch up on this week (crosses fingers).

My other big distraction is research. This NaNo novel is a sequel to my first Tudor novel, so I know most of my characters very well and, having taught the Tudors for many years, I am fine with the period. But wouldn’t you know it – the characters are all going to new places, travelling by modes of travel they didn't use in the last book and even meeting people who don’t speak the Queen’s English, and all of that requires research.

So far I have researched accusations of witchcraft, symptoms and treatments for gout (oil of stag’s blood and poultices which cause dreadful blisters were two suggestions), the start of ‘tulipmania’ in the late 16th century, sea journeys and Dutch ports, the city of Haarlem, 16th century Dutch names and Dutch vocabulary. You can spot a theme building there, I’m sure.

I love the research. It’s all great fun. However, it does consume vast amounts of time and that is holding up my NaNo word count. Luckily, I am on my own in the house during the week and not due to hold down a proper job until January (fingers crossed again), so I will have the time to do this.

I am pleased with the way the story is developing, and I started this novel with a plan, unlike the first one, where the planning began somewhere after chapter four. I am resisting the urge to edit, which, I have to say, is helping the story flow, even if, when I do look back over the pages, I do wince a bit. This is advice I’ve read from many an author – get the story out there, edit later.
Dutch river scene
As part of NaNoWriMo, I have joined the local Cambridge writing community on the NaNo website and on Facebook. I even ventured along to a ‘write-in’ at the CB2 cafĂ© in central Cambridge and met a lovely bunch of writers. However, I seem to be more productive writing at home, in my lonely garret, which is actually a lovely, refurbished study with views of the garden courtyard and its out of place palm tree (not my garden design, I hasten to add). Maybe I should try meeting the Wrimos (or is that winos?) at their Wednesday evening social meets? Oh no, that requires being brave again!
My garden view