Okay, things on the Nanowrimo front aren’t going quite as I planned. In terms of word count, I’m ahead of schedule. I’ve written 8,442 words in the first two days. And since Nanowrimo is all about quantity rather than quality, I’m happy with that.
But the thing is, I had an outline. And my book is totally ignoring my outline. It was supposed to start with Rosemary getting dumped by her boyfriend and subsequently meeting a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder on one of the online dating sites. But what happened? Right there on page one, while I watched in horror, her boyfriend went and hanged himself in the bedroom closet. Nobody was more surprised than me.
Here’s the excerpt – you can see for yourself how it snuck up on me:
But being left is different. You have no control. No illusions. No omniscient glimpse into the real reasons for the breakup. You’re completely dependent on the other person to tell you, and you’re familiar with all the old lies and the reasons for telling them.
They don’t want to hurt you. Nevertheless, you’re left bereft and confused and hurt. You might know what the lies are, but you still don’t know what the truth is. You don’t know why he really left.
And he’s not talking. He’s still hanging in the bedroom closet, his face bulging and purple, the front of his pants stained wet, his skin swollen from accumulated fluids, a neatly typewritten and hand-signed note folded on the bedside table.
Now Rosemary’s got all this extra emotional shit to process before she can even begin to think of writing an online dating profile. She’s spent the past 8,442 words organizing and getting through a funeral, obsessively cleaning the closet, exchanging barbs with his mother, reading and re-reading the suicide note, and wondering why he really did it. On top of everything else, he informed her in the note that he’s got a 14-year old daughter out there somewhere, and he’d like her to track the kid down and give her something from him. This was not in the outline, and it’s a fairly onerous responsibility for someone who was just supposed to be eating potato chips, reading online profiles and composing flirty emails.
Because you have to churn out 50,000 words in a month, there’s no time to go back and change your mind. You have to keep going. Somehow I have to find a way for Rosemary to finish grieving, track down the kid, AND start online dating. (GC suggested I just say “A few months later….” and take it from there.)