Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rambling on heroism

I've always loved the corporate heroes, those groups of clever and witty individuals who are all in some way blessed with being fabulous. They sit around a table and discuss the problem and find ingenious solution. Or better yet everyone sits in the living room, someone balances on the edge of the couch, and another stands by the window. Someone is pacing up and down by the door, looking nervous. In this situation there is always someone who is the most organised, who has notes and a a pile of books, which they ought to put on the coffee table. So everyone drinks tea and discusses the whatever it is, and find some solution. Then they go off shield banging and solve the problem, some separately to their own little skills but most of them in a group. And they probably help each other with the preparations too.

I went into nanowrimo thinking of these people, and please note that they aren't really there. There is no organised person, though one of my characters does like to sit on window sills (mostly because he likes to keep track of when the forest vanishes). The thing about this group is that it requires a third person and various points of view, my novel is third person limited. I have a problem now, that everyone is clever but random people run into the room to plot something because nothing can go forward without the main character and the main character cannot know anything without one of the characters coming and telling him. But I don't know where I'm going with this, so I think I will tell a story instead.

I am not behind, I am not ahead. I was ahead last year, but this year I decided to be average. I am exactly that. The emails never apply to me, the comments never help me, the calls for help don't aid me, and the congratulations never apply to me. Maybe I should fall behind so that I can be desperate like everyone else, but that isn't the sort of thing I do.

This is rather peculiar, because in the rest of my life I am panicked and haphazard, but for nanowrimo I seem to be exactly what I ought. My chi tea just overflowed, which shows you exactly how much I am what I ought to be. School nights I start at about 10pm and write as fast as I can to midnight, and I finish. On reading break I pulled ahead a bit, but being busy put me back to just where I ought to be.

My characters are average. I love them and I find them interesting, though sometimes I wonder. The work I do on them isn't brilliant, and I feel like I don't give them enough. That is normal, everyone feels that way. My setting is fuzzy sometimes, which is normal. My writing is somewhere between silly and bad, which is normal. It is rather disconcerting to be this middling. I feel like I'm missing that black-eyed and forbidding panic that nanowrimo is all about, I ought to be losing my mind right now, but I'm really not. I always said I was a passionate sort of person, but it seems like I ought to feel more.

I think I just managed to numb myself. I'm not allowed to get published for a long long time, so I say to myself, which means that anything I write is for me and not to be evaluated on that level. Sometimes I have this strange delusion that I could get published. "Hmm, I'm not really doing so bad, this is about as good as I can see it getting and if I can just get those little problems worked out and give it a good edit it will I'll be set." But that isn't the sort of writer I am. I write because I love writing, I'm going to do it no matter if I get published or not, to me it shouldn't be a goal. This is good and bad, good because it gives me much more freedom, but because in order that I never feel worthy of publishing I set the bar higher for myself, that I never WILL be able to publish. I look at so much of what appears these days, and the writing just isn't brilliant. The story is action: 'event event event, bam! event event' but the gift of words seems too often to be lost. I don't see that gift in my writing either, and until I can discover it I will never feel worthy of publishing.

And that is the sort of person I am to be doing nanowrimo and remaining precisely average, a very confused sort of person. My current fear is that writing in limited third person is making a novel where the only character who really does anything is Jek, my mc. He isn't all that exciting, and most often what the other characters does sets motivation, but it seems like everyone runs to him for help when they could ask each other, and no one ever hides secrets from him. Rather problematic and I will be very happy when I find some solution for this.

No comments: