...and I take my whisky neat.
It has been some time since I've blogged here, probably because it has been some time since I've been writing. But - it's November, and that's National Novel Writing Month, and it compels me. (This is my thirteenth year "nano-ing," as we say.) This year's title is The Evershaw Century, and I hope to get it out there in the next three-four months. The story sees Constance Evershaw leaving the country as a young woman, coming home to more than one inheritance, exploring her relatives' eccentricities, and watching history unfold from the American Civil War through Truman's presidency. Oh, and she defied a few social protocols and solved a murder, too.
Other writers will probably chuckle if they see this, but this year I did a chapter-by-chapter synopsis - nothing I'd show a publisher, at least not in its present form, but something to help me keep all the characters doing what they need to do, where and when they need to do it. It's also shown me some loose ends that need tying up, and some details I should write a little more about. I used to think that synopses were just a marketing tool, but now I see that they're a writing tool as well. Duuh!
I have been thinking about her story for a little more than a year, and I had notes - the NaNo rule (really more a suggestion) is that you can use notes, but you can't write anything narrative until 12:01 a.m. November first - but I didn't get to start until November fourth, 'cause this year the Tucson Celtic Festival was the first through the third. Never mind: I reached the 50,000 word goal by the eleventh, and I think that - eight days - is the fastest I've ever done it!
The word count is currently just over sixty thousand, but it's gonna go a little higher by the time I go over my chapter synopsis again and add in the parts of the story I forgot to include. The only thing that's gonna delay me now is installing the new keyboard I ordered. It should be here by Tuesday, and it'll be nice. It's the same as the one I'm using now, but none of the keys' letters will be worn off, and it will have a built-in, um, tilty-thingie under it so it'll be at the right angle. I've got a makeshift one of those right now, and it helps, but the new keyboard will be better. (You'd think that after all the years I've been writing books, I'd know the keyboard by heart, and I pretty much do, but with the I and E and O and U completely gone, and the A and L replaced with red nail polish that's also wearing off, I get confused if I look at the keyboard - which do mainly because that's where my eyes go when I'm peering into the idea-sphere.)
I did not write this book by myself. Maybe because I'd been thinking about it off and on for so many months, the characters, especially Cons, really stepped up. Writers talk about their characters hijacking their stories, taking them off the carefully plotted track and leading them somewhere else entirely, but that's not what Cons and Johnny and Mae, or any of the others, did. (Newlin Merchant surprised me a couple of times, but he's a psychopath, so that's to be expected.) My characters didn't disagree with me about what was happening. They just spoke right up and explained how everything went down. I really appreciate that!
This novel's different for me in another way, too: I relate to these characters as actual people, rather than people I've made up. Don't get me wrong - my other characters are "real" in the sense that they have distinct views and voices and all, but ... this feels almost biographical. It's certainly the closest I've gotten to historical fiction. I knew people who were alive during this story's time frame, and the characters in Evershaw seem a little like friends of theirs that I don't quite remember. That's been weird, and cool.
When books I'm writing challenge me, or make me relate to characters in new ways, I'm a happy writer. Hoping y'all are happy doing what you're doing, I bid you farewell for now, and, um, semi-promise to make my next entry before another five months have gone by.