This year i’m joining NaNoWriMo just because —
because last year I felt like joining but didn’t because I was too busy being convinced that in the process of writing my thesis, I needed to drive myself crazy; because I said I’d join this year; because I want to know how it is to write something that’s more than 4, 500 words (approximate word count of the longest short story I’ve written). Of course, that I enjoy and value writing is a given.
I don’t think I have the stamina to write in such a sustained genre; when I daydream about my first book, I always see it as a collection of vignettes or short stories or essays. I think of novel-writing as a marathon, interspersed with periods of drudgery and unremarkable sights — unlike the more exhilarating sprint afforded by shorter forms.
On some nights I’m kept awake by a head teeming with ideas, none of which seem big enough to sustain fifty thousand words.
All I have are the bones of a plot lying in a jumbled heap and the ghost of an idea of what I want the novel to be: a frame story, a bildungsroman, a satire, with a bit of fanfic; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Atonement, The Virgin Suicides, and The House on Mango Street, rolled into one; unreliable narrators, non-linear plot, literary collage. I think I have the frame for narrative-weaving, but I’ve yet to buy the spools of thread. I’m not through processing what I mean to say, much less outlining the novel or shaping the characters; I don’t even have a title. But what the hell, I’ll just wing it. Maybe by Nov.25 I would be in a high enough state of panic and frenzy to churn out chapters.
But first, an excerpt, taken from an old essay, on which the novel will be based:
Where I came from the corridors are often silent and empty (like churches) except during recess, lunch break, and dismissal (like Sundays) when a hundred pairs of feet would line up and shuffle out of reticent doors, dragging bodies towards food, or friends, or home. But even then it seemed the shoes trod the floors with bated breaths, wary of other feet and bodies, the gaze of the prefects of discipline, the disembodied voice from speaker systems on the ceilings, the trash bins every other meter that clanged when hit with heels and shins. There mouths were wont to whisper things, little things, like are my nails too long? My skirt properly ironed, my hair clip not too frivolous?
Yeah, wish me luck.
Thank goodness for the long weekend, I can reread Atonement and Jean Brodie, and revise my submission to Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 6.
UPDATE: not going through with it anymore!