Friday, November 12, 2010

Cracking the Whip at the Limping Noodle

When I first joined NaNoWriMo and began planning to write a novel in a month, I started hearing about Week Two. Yes, all in caps like that. It’s An Event. But the thing is, this is one event that didn’t have such a good rap. Week Two is terrible. Week Two is tough. Writers quit during Week Two *cue dramatic music* never to return to their story again.

At the end of week one I was barreling through my story at top speed. Mighty Writer Amy wasn’t going to be daunted by week two, oh no. (Did you note how I trivialized the threat merely by not capitalizing it?) Reaching Sky is a winning novel! Bethany House is going to publish it, and not only that, they are going to offer me a two-book contract for it and the companion novel, M&Ms and Apple Cores. Get ready, week two, here I come!

And then Week Two hit. There were three things I underestimated about Week Two.

1) The middle of a book is hard to write. I know this because I researched it (read, misery loves company). Even best-selling authors feel like giving up during the middle of the book.

2) My handy-dandy outline said “Day five: LA to Yreka, Drive and Talk. Day Six: Arrive in Newport, OR.” Now, maybe you haven’t looked at a map lately, but LA and Newport are almost a whole state apart. And California and Oregon are big states. On top of that, “drive and talk” isn’t exactly a detailed blueprint.

So now I’m stuck in a notoriously Hard to Write Middle, with a very Vague and Fuzzy Outline, right in the midst of Week Two.

3) Added to that is that I’m tired. Not tired of writing, just tired. As in a bit of a Fibromyalgia Fatigue Flare.

So what do I do? I keep writing, of course! I am Mighty Writer Amy, remember? I may now be convinced my novel is as exciting as a limping noodle (no, I don’t mean “limp noodle” or a “wet noodle.” I’m not quite that depressed. A limping noodle is a tiny bit interesting, right?) but I am determined that not even the Three Plagues of Week Two can stop me.

So. It doesn’t.

And just as a treat, here is a teaser from this week’s writing. It comes from near the beginning of the week, back when things were still moving pretty good and not yet limping.

I went back to scanning the cars behind me for that dark blue sedan. It was amazing how many blue cars were out there. I freaked myself out several times, but they always eventually took an exit or pulled ahead or fell behind. I was zoning out when something made me glance beside us.

The squinty-eye man was not behind me. He was beside me. On the other side of my window. Staring right at me.

I yelled. His car kept pace with me and for a second we locked eyes. His were dark and piercing, even with the drooping lid. Sky took a gasping breath.

Gripping the wheel, I fought the impulse to stomp the break or gun the gas. There was a car right on my tail. Getting rear ended would just make us more vulnerable. What if the car behind us was part of it, too?

My heart was going so fast I expected it to give up any second. I’d just die right there, holding the wheel of my truck.

“Sage, do something.” Sky cowered down, but popped up for a little peek.

“Should I take the exit?” There was one only a quarter of a mile up. Would that be safer or scarier? “I don’t know what to do.” I didn’t have much luck keeping the panic out of my voice. Dealing with psychos chasing me was not something I had experience with.

The squinty-eye man made the decision for me. He pulled a half a car length ahead. Then he yanked the wheel. Toward us.

Sky screamed.

I reacted instinctively, jerking the truck away. Then I saw the concrete rail. We were going to die.

Somehow I kept control, slamming on the breaks and straightening out so we were driving down the shoulder. From the corner of my eye I saw the man roll down the car window and reach out a hand that held something black. The bang echoed in my ears. Filling my brain. Overpowering my thoughts.

When I came out of my shock the truck was stopped on the shoulder, only a few feet away from the freeway exit. Someone honked.

Sky. Had he shot Sky?

I turned my head slowly. She was laying flopped over her seatbelt with her head almost on the floor. She didn’t move.

Yes, I'm going to be mean and leave you with a cliff hanger. No, I'm not going to tell you if Sky is dead or alive or injured. If you'll excuse me now, I have a limping noodle I need to get back to.


Yvonne Blake said...

I know this advice won't help you with your plot, but when I get stuck during NaNo, I start writing descriptions. Describe the landscape; describe the characters and their backgrounds and their families; describe the towns and cars and anything at all. Even though this isn't in your plot, it gives your mind a chance to subconsiously think and you get to know your characters and story better...and adds to your wordcount!

PinonKnitter said...

Love the post. Your writing is very good too. Good luck with the rest of the month!

Rita's Random Ramblings said...

Yvonne's advice is on target! Just write and your imagination will follow! Hugs, and sending prayers your way!

Lisa Mikitarian said...

You are Mighty Writer Amy who likes to leave cliffhangers--which I think makes you: Mean and Mighty Writer Amy!

Great advice, Yvonne.

And Amy, I didn't know the second week was the hardest--now that I know, I hope I don't quit!!!!

Sparrow said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

Lisa, You are positively not allowed to quit. You made it through this week so you can make it through everything!

Joanne Sher said...

What an awesome post, Amy. LLOOVVEE it - made me laugh - and wanna slap ya for that cliffhanger (wink).

Em said...

Oh Oh!! I love it!!!! Way to much suspense! :)

Keep going!