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So as I wrote last week? I am in the midst of National Novel Writing Month. It is whipping me. I am up on my word count but want to get a bit ahead since next week is Thanksgiving and I have company coming. No writing will happen that day I’m sure.

It’s been an interesting process. First of all, sequestering myself for 2-3 hours a day to write has been a challenge. And it’s not like working on a poem where I can intersperse other writing or other activities. Once I get hooked on a plot line or a description, I have to keep writing until it is gone from my hands. I’m also probably not very efficient in some ways. Since I’ve grounded the story in a real time/place, I feel like I need to check my facts. Here’s a brief list:

  • Information about University of Montana
  • Average winter temperatures in Missoula
  • Process of getting frostbite and hypothermia and long term (if any) after effects
  • Grief process and missing persons
  • Cemetery plots
  • Brewpub names
  • Common first and last names for various decades in the last 50-100

These are not particularly tricky topics but each takes a bit of time getting out of the flow, onto the internet, and back into the flow again. I’ve also been surprised that my characters occasionally do some things I was not expecting. Not very often, but I’ve had to describe some scenes where I had absolutely no idea how they were going to turn out. Then the characters took over.

Because my attention is being paid to this challenge, I haven’t yet taken the time to review some feedback I got on a poetry submission that was rejected. I do want to look but I’m a bit scared I guess, and my novel writing is a good excuse to hold it off some more. I will have a small essay published in a state-wide publication. I luxuriated in that positive for awhile. And there’s another journal accepting poetry submissions until Dec. 1 which happens to be the day after NaNoWriMo ends. So I may pull myself together and get something submitted.

If you’re interested in writing a novel, check out the website at http://nanowrimo.org It may be too late for this year but there are some interesting forums and ideas for nascent, and experienced, writers.

I leave you with a little bit of writing I did today, and one of my favorite lines so far:

She handled each miniature carefully before putting three of them back in the box along with the picture. The last one, the figure decorated with stripes of paint, she placed at the end of the quotation on Celine’s gravestone. “And if thou wilt, remember, And if thou wilt, forget.”

Come spring it would be washed away in the great rivulets of thaw.