Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's fiction...Really!

My absence from my blog hasn't been due to anything terrible. If you know me, you know I've been saying things here and there on GitP or Facebook. The main reason I haven't been saying much here is because much of my writing time has been going into this year's NaNoWriMo competition. I've managed a stunning average of over 3,800 words per day, which is amazing for several reasons.

First, there's the fact that my hands aren't what they once were. With the degradation of my muscles, I thought such regular typing would leave my hands exhausted. It's not nearly as strenuous as trying to open a bottle with a cap that's on too tight, but it DOES require that I hold my hands up and coordinate my fingers to hit those keys that I want to an extreme. A blog post may be 2,000 words at the absolute maximum. But 3,800 words a day, for six days in a row...? That's something I wasn't expecting at all.

Next is the genre I chose. Literary fiction is not the kind of thing I usually go for. I prefer science fiction, or fantasy, or anything that isn't about the real world. Instead, I've chosen to use Becky and I as the main characters, and am writing about what life would be like if we won $218,000,000.00 in the Powerball lottery. Calling it Winners, Losers, & Others, I have cranked out a total of over 23,000 words thus far. I honestly didn't think I had it in me to write that much on a subject that didn't involve imaginary worlds with fantastic characters.

Finally, the subject matter isn't all that fascinating. What is there to really write? "I win an absurd amount of money. I choose to split it evenly with the woman I love. The annuity comes to a rounded down figure of 7,260,000 each year. Rounding down again, it becomes $3,600,000 for each of us. Put half away for taxes, and that leaves us each with $1,800,000. We spend it. The end."

But I've actually been having fun writing this, dragging all sorts of characters from our lives into the tale. Oh, there are enough alterations in it to make "real" people fictional, but a great deal of it is based on how I think the "real" characters would respond to Becky and I becoming wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. It's been a form of exploration, imaging how I would go about doing some of that which I mentioned in a blog post some months back. (I mean, I REMEMBER writing a post about "what if I won the lottery," but I can't remember exactly when I wrote it.) And so I have been creating interactions for those things I'd like to do.

Like the idea of helping my friend Julie. Life can't possibly be easy with three small children, a house that seems to be coming apart at every turn, and a husband who is having difficulty finding work. In the story, I arrange to set up a bank account in my name, and simply have her as an authorized debit card user. In this way, she avoids having to pay the absurd taxes on the money, but has access to the $150,000 I'd put into it annually.

In the story, when I go to visit her for the first time in almost two decades, I discover the house is worse than I'd ever imagined, and it becomes a fight to get her to pack up her family while I do "something" about her living conditions. And I found myself enjoying the fact that I would make such a strong case to "enforce" my aid on a beloved friend.

Becky has been eating up this story. The moment there's a potential lull in our conversations, it's, "WRITE MORE!" She says the story is excellent, even though I argue that it's crap. The reason I say as much is because prose isn't really my strong suit. I can write great dialogue, but a descriptive passage...? It's all crap.

And now, with 50,000 words needing to be cranked out by the end of the month, I think I'll reserve my writing strength for more of that. Be well, all. =)

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