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Today is the 13th day of NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) and I am writing a novel this month.
The way I’ve patterned the chapters…wrong.
A few of the characters…wrong.
One character dies…wrong.
One character has an ailment that I got all…wait for it…wrong.
Certain aspects of plot…wrong.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
And 45,000 words into the first draft.
And I’m going to keep writing the wrong. Yup. I’m going to let myself soak in the wrong.
Because I have to know what’s wrong before I can know what is right.
Right around 1938 (no, this isn’t a story about me…I’m not that old) John Steinbeck (swoon) finished work on a satire called L’Affaire Lettuceburg. He called it a “bad book”. It wasn’t what it should have been. Undoubtedly, it was well written and full of wit and great ideas. But it wasn’t what he wanted to present to the world.
Instead, he used what he had and constructed a different project out of the Lettuceburg compost. That work later became a little book that you were probably supposed to read in High School English. It was called The Grapes of Wrath.
Steinbeck didn’t see what was wrong as a failure. Instead, he noticed the wrong and improved upon it.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Soon becomes. Better. Better. Better.
And that’s what I’m going for.
I’m not Steinbeck…but…maybe I want to be a little bit.
Well, it’s true.
Like Steinbeck but not so hairy.
(DISCLAIMER: I’m not functioning on 100% brain capacity. Most of my mind is going into the wrongness of the novel. Thank you, Cupcakes!)
Love it, Sooz! I forget which author it was that said something about if you write enough words, you are bound to come up with some that are good. 😉
It’s true! And if I type long enough, eventually something close to the story will emerge. 🙂
Sometimes what seems wrong one day, is realized to be easily correctable the next day; occasionally it turns our to be brilliant. May that be your experience.
I’m finding that it will all be easily corrected. Nothing a good edit or two can’t fix.
In the struggle to complete the NaNoWriMo, all perception of good and bad has been tossed out the window. Instead is the attempt to merely find the time to complete a minimum of two thousand words each day, to get over the mythical finish line, to be able to say that the goal was attained – even though the goal is not the completion of the book, or even the completion of the story, but the ability to say that it can be done. If one is willing to put in the time, and then put in more time, and then make even more time, it is possible to create a story that can captivate the imagination of a reader, taking him/ her from one circumstance to another while observing the changes, good and bad, which are brought about by the decisions, actions, thoughts and feelings of the characters. Possible, especially if one is willing afterward to devote a sufficient amount of time to cleaning up the literary mess which was created by rushing through the process in the first place. Viva la literatura!
p.s. surpassed 20,000 words today! (ah, the busy life of an engineer…)
I didn’t know you were participating! That’s fantastic! 20,000 words + full time job + directing a musical + father of 4 = amazing!
i ❤ steinbeck. and i ❤ u for the amazingly audacious goal to write like him. i'm rooting for you!!
Thanks, Cindy! I love you, too!