Dear NaNoWriMo Author,
By now you're probably ready to give up. You're past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You're not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more---and that even when they do you're preoccupied and no fun. You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.
Welcome to the club.
That's how novels get written.
You write. That's the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interloc king stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It's a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn't build it it won't be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.
The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.
The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I cou ld abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"
I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"
"You don't remember?"
"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."
I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.
So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.
One word after another.
That's the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes in to Chapter Nine, it's the only way to do it.
So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.
Pretty soon you'll be on the downward slide, and it's not impossible that soon you'll be at the end. Good luck...
Neil Gaiman is the author of the New York Times bestselling children's book Coraline and of the picture books The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. He is also the author of award-winning novels and short stories for adults, as well as the Sandman series of graphic novels. His most recent novels include InterWorld and Anansi Boys. For more info on Neil, visit www.neilgaiman.com
This year I've been busy!
In February I helped katybean see the light (8 points). Last week I donated bone marrow to nataliesford in a life-saving procedure (300 points). Last Wednesday I gave smudgypixels a Dutch Oven (-10 points). Last Sunday I ruled Iran as a kind and benevolent dictator (700 points). Last Thursday neilf and I donated clothes to the needy (11 points).
Overall, I've been nice (1009 points). For Christmas I deserve a Nintendo Wii!
Ironic, much? ;-p
Still full of cold and now my sinuses are out to kill me!
Lets101 - Free Online Dating
I'd have called me a lazy cat but I *can* be hard-working when I bother... ;-p
The other day (friends-only post) I helped sweetmeow by pointing her at the non-JS badge for Twitter which can be found here, at BunnyHeroLabs.
In this post lazscott mourned this inability for LJ to display the NaBloPoMo badge and so I replied with the following as a comment:
My NaBloPoMo Profile
Random NaBloPoMo Blog
...I use this hefty chunk of code:
<center><table align=center><tr align=center><td align=center width=50%><a href="http://nablopomo.ning.com/profile/natalieford"><img src="http://www.natalieford.com/pics/nablopomo-badge.jpg" alt="NatalieFord's NaBloPoMo Profile Badge"></a><br /><a href="http://nablopomo.ning.com/profile/natalieford"><em>My NaBloPoMo Profile</em></a></td><td align=center width=50%><a href="http://www.nablopomo.ning.com/random.html"><img src="http://www.natalieford.com/pics/nablo07.120x90.jpg" alt="nablopomo badge with kitty saying IM IN UR BLOG READIN UR THOTS!!"></a><br /><a href="http://www.nablopomo.ning.com/random.html"><em>Random NaBloPoMo Blog</em></a></td></tr></table></center></code></blockquote>
...where "http://www.natalieford.com/pics/nablopomo-badge.jpg" is the badge graphic that I created and am hosting on my own website.
I hope that helps! If you'd like, and you do not have your own web hosting, I could host a JPG for you on my site. I could even create it for you if you email me a screen capture (PrntScrn and paste into MSPaint or Photoshop, on windows, Apple+Shift+3 on mac OSX)!
I know that LJ have a (valid) security reason for refusing to let us embed JS in our journals but *surely* they could allow us to do so - there are few sites these days that do not allow JS...
(I pasted that twice because I thought that it looked cool with my userpic instead of the image on the meme graphic (on my LJ layout, that is)...)
People who died on August 04, 1967 (the exact day you were born)
* Peter Smith, English cricketer
Unusual Deaths in 1967
* In a similar incident, a flash fire began in the pure oxygen environment during a training exercise inside the unlaunched apollo 1 spacecraft, killing command pilot gus grissom, senior pilot ed white, and pilot roger b. chaffee. the door to the capsule was unable to be opened during the fire because of its particular design. had the soviet union revealed the earlier death of valentin bondarenko, this incident could likely have been avoided.
* Vladimir komarov became the first person to die during a space mission after the parachute of his capsule failed to deploy following re-entry.
Natural disasters in 1967
* Belvidere - Oak Lawn Tornado Outbreak
* 1967 Caracas earthquake
* 1967 St. Louis tornado outbreak
People who died on August 04 (various years)
* 2007 - Lee Hazlewood, American country singer, songwriter and producer
* 2005 - Anatoly Larkin, Russian-American physicist
* 2004 - Stella Liebeck, known for her part in Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants, a lawsuit in which Liebeck claimed medical costs and damages for having been burned by a cup of McDonald's coffee. This lawsuit is considered to be "the poster child of excessive lawsuits" by ABC News.
* 2003 - Frederick Chapman Robbins, American Nobel Prize Laureate
* 2002 - Holly Wells & Jessica Chapman, Soham murder victims (b. 1991, 1991)
* 2001 - Lorenzo Music, American actor
* 2000 - Leslie Glass, American adult film actress
* 1999 - Victor Mature, American actor
* 1998 - Yuri Artyukhin, cosmonaut
* 1992 - Sophie died six hours later, shit happens.
* 1997 - Jeanne Calment, French supercentenarian; world's oldest ever-human
* 1996 - Geoff Hamilton, British gardener and broadcaster
* 1982 - Bruce Goff, American Architect
* 1981 - Melvyn Douglas, American actor
* 1976 - Enrique Angelelli, Argentine bishop, assassinated in the context of the "Dirty War"
* 1976 - Roy Herbert Thomson, Canadian publisher
* 1958 - Ethel Anderson, Australian poet
* 1957 - Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa, President of Brazil
* 1938 - Pearl White, American actress
* 1900 - Isaac Levitan, Russian painter
* 1875 - Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer
* 1873 - Viktor Hartmann, Russian painter
* 1844 - Jakob Aall, Norwegian journalist and statesman
* 1795 - Timothy Ruggles, American-born Tory politician
* 1792 - John Burgoyne, British general
* 1784 - Giovanni Battista Martini, Italian musician
* 1741 - Andrew Hamilton, American lawyer
* 1727 - Victor-Maurice, comte de Broglie, French general
* 1718 - René Lepage de Ste-Claire, lord-founder of the town of Rimouski, in New France
* 1639 - Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Mexican dramatist
* 1612 - Hugh Broughton, English scholar
* 1598 - William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, English statesman
* 1578 - Thomas Stucley, English adventurer
* 1578 - Sebastian of Portugal
* 1526 - Juan Sebastián Elcano, Spanish explorer
* 1338 - Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk, son of Edward I of England
* 1306 - Wenceslaus III of Bohemia
* Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester
* Peter de Montfort
* Henry de Montfort
* 1265 - Killed in the Battle of Evesham: Hugh le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despencer
* 1113 - Gertrude of Saxony
* 1060 - Henry I of France