Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaNo Update 2

Before November started, I said I would probably write all the time about my struggles and discoveries this National Novel Writing Month. Now that the month is nearly gone and I've barely mentioned it, I feel slightly guilty. But I was using my time to write my novel, not blog entries.

Time to make up for that.

I've kept up with word count, though it's been difficult. There's been a day or five or seven where I didn't write, too busy or not in the mood. But most of the time, I made it up in the next day or two. I knew I couldn't afford to let myself get too far behind. Right now, I'm at 43,347 words, right on track and close enough to the win that my breath is fogging up the finish line on the other side of my screen. I still don't know precisely how I want to end it, because I have very little idea what the best ending will be with all these scrapes and plot holes, but so far the ending's involved a few explosions, so I guess it can't be that bad.

My first year I tried (and failed) NaNoWriMo, I started with no idea what the story would be like. Halfway through the month, I was busy and still had no idea what my story was about, so I quit. This year, I've been a little better prepared. I had maybe 1/4 of a story idea. There are four days left. I can probably come up with four days of material.

My problems this month so far have been leaving character development to the last minute, loving characters but slowly realizing they didn't fit with the story I'm trying to tell, loving the story I'm trying to tell and realizing I know nothing about it, being too confident, not being confident enough, and being too busy. This last has helped me write my full 1,667 in 45 minutes, however, so I'm not terribly grudging.

Basically, my NaNovel is a NaNovel. It is awkward and lopsided. It doesn't deserve to see the light of day, and it deserves a full revision as soon as I can give it. It's somewhat daft and rather wild. It's like one of your dear friends who likes to do strange and awkward things in public. Right now, it's a little insecure. Maybe it will feel a little better about itself once I figure out how to help it say what it wants to say.

But what interesting things our imaginations can do.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Life, My World

A few moments ago while texting my boyfriend, I mentioned how I just need to figure out specifically what I want to talk about for blog posts. His suggestion was "Your life!", so here goes.

Describing my life necessarily details many others. Recently, I've noticed how people assume a strange plurality of worlds. I think lives have similar properties. For example, in my professional writing class, I hear a lot about the "publishing world", the "writing world", et cetera. In theatre, our director tells us to clear our minds of things not in the "world of the play." How vast my life, that it encompasses so many worlds! Other than just the physical realm this mortal coil inhabits, I also live in the college world, the world of my dorm hall, the waking world, and whatever world it is where I have my daydreams.

And yet, according to John 15:19, I am not of this world. Huh.

People also have lives, or else they're told they need to get them. There are personal lives, sex lives (not that I would know), work lives, home lives, and I've heard it's possible to live the sweet life, the unexamined life, and even that elusive "real life", which apparently people like me haven't experienced yet.

But since I'm not of this world, I wonder if this life isn't mine either.  According to Job 10:12 and John 5:21, God (or the Son) gives life. It was given to me. I don't just have it. There's a purpose to it all. Galatians 2:20 is interesting:
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
So, what am I doing with this life I've been given?

At times, it feels like I'm just sitting tight, waiting to be given something to do. Sometimes I feel like I've been given a thousand things to do, and sometimes I pick those thousand things for myself. I think the gist of it is that I'm still learning. More even than writing, I feel that learning is the talent I've been handed along with my life. I absorb everything new in the hopes that someday I can use it. With all the parallels in this world, I really believe I can use all I've been given. And I've been given so many opportunities and blessings.

And, it's nice to think that contrary to what my younger brother says, I don't need to get a life after all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I make fun of chick flicks. My sister hates watching them with me because if I don't like them, I do nothing but make fun of the characters and ruin all the romantic moments. It's a kind of sappy I can't stand. I can, however, sit through the cheesiest of musicals without a single insult. I will shed tears. And when the happy ending comes, as it inevitably does, I dance and sing around the house for hours afterward.

Taylor Theatre's current production is A Christmas Carol. I have about as small a part as there is (yes, yes, "there are no small parts in a show"), but I delight to be part of the production. Tonight, we got our first standing ovation. Then we had our cast party. I was on my post-musical kick, being hyper and singing all over the place, and then I heard the best news I have in a long time.

There is a musical of Lord of the Rings.

I'm pretty sure my heart stopped.

Over the next few weeks I'll listen to it over and over again and learn everything there is to know about it, but I doubt I'll get used to it. I will never lose sight of that joy I find in a good musical. My all-time favorite is Les Misérables. I'm pretty much obsessed, and the joy it gives me never goes away. Every time I listen, it's still wonderful. From the few songs I've heard of the LotR musical, this one seems to evoke the same kind of feelings in me. What beautiful songs! What a wonderful story!

One of the things that I think makes a really good musical, movie, or TV show that started as a book is that it keeps the feel of the original story while being successful in its own medium. Les Mis did that and then some. As a huge LotR geek, I pick at the movies a lot, but I love them and appreciate them.

Here's hoping the LotR musical succeeds in that way. My sappy heart could use another musical.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God's in the Details

Right now I am working on several big things. The most notable of these are the musical and NaNoWriMo, but there's also the day-to-day classes, intramural soccer, classes, and Bible study which make up the dividable portions of my day. But among all these big things, and in part because of them, are scattered many little things. According to Wikipedia, the phrase "the devil's in the details" came originally from "God is in the detail." There is a slight difference in the meaning, but for me, I know God is in the details in my life.

Let me explain. Right now, I have so many things to do and monitor and work on, and I know I can't have gotten through so well as I have been by myself. Little things keep falling together. Small circumstances happen in such a way to remind me of this, help me with that, inform me of other circumstances. Sometimes I'm just barely hanging on and getting through, and if I could I would just lie in bed and not get up. But something's keeping me going, and it's not me. It's all the things that happen, like a friend asking after me at just the right time, or being able to help me at the right moment. It's when things go well in rehearsal just when I'm about to cry in frustration. It's when the thousand "Help me God, I'm drowning" prayers are answered more abundantly than I could have imagined. I am so glad that someone other than me is directing that I can hardly express it.

I can't imagine what my life would be like without God right now. How else could I come up with 1,667 words a day, get all my homework done, play soccer about three times a week, not oversleep, rehearse for five or six or seven hours a night, read, and maintain some form of contact with my friends and boyfriend?

And I know I'm not the only person who feels overwhelmed. The whole cast of the musical is probably there right now, as well as countless people you may know who will never read this, people here at Taylor and people on opposite sides of the country. Some people may need more help than I do, in the big things and in countless small things.

In God all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). I hope you can see it in all your small circumstances and all your big projects. I hope He remains your vision in your difficult times. Because really, who do you want to be in the details?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNo Update

November is going to be a crazy month.

This is typical of NaNoWriMo, but I've already complained about how busy I am. It's tech weekend for the musical, which means we're getting lights and makeup and set and costume changes aligned with music, with seven-hour rehearsals and lots of problems along the way. I've gotten most of my writing done in the long intervals between my scenes as the people on stage go over and over scene transitions. I help with that occasionally, but I can still get a lot of work done.

I've been a bit behind on my word count, but I make it up the next day. Today I broke 10,000, which is always a nice feeling. That extra digit really emphasizes just how far you've gone -- and hey, I'm a fifth of the way there.

It's wonderful being able to talk to the people at Taylor about NaNo. I've never had a friend closer than 300 miles away doing it, and now I know several people here who are. It's really fun. Perhaps I should ask about a write-in or some other event and see how it goes.

Still, there is the ever-present homework and a looming research paper, along with all the normal busynesses of life. One of the really cool things about NaNoWriMo, though, is how it makes you maximize your time -- otherwise you can get nothing done.

One weekend down, three to go. Onward, fellow writers!