about my nanowrimo ’09 contribution

hello and welcome to an online first draft of my new novel.   i am going to be writing during national novel writing month – november.  tho why they would want to set aside the month that starts with halloween and ends with thanksgiving, i’ll never know.  i would have picked february for nanowrimo, but hey, can’t think of everything.

last year’s effort was a dark comedy about keeping things in the family, called Cathy Eats Her Words.  unfortunately i got to the end of november and packed it in, and even tho i was almost to the climax, i found i couldn’t go on.  what do they call that kind of dysfunction when it’s sex?

this year, i had three options.  i could go on to finish Cathy, which after all only has the climax and the resolution to go.  but that involved a hell of a lot of things happening, characters i’d only just barely introduced playing pivotal roles, lots of skullduggery and twists.  it exhausted me just to think of it.  then there was this other story i thought up during the year, involving a throw momma from the train meets kind hearts and coronets with some fawlty towers tossed in.   and then there was this light hearted crime fiction romp thru strip clubs and drug dens that i thought up one day while walking the dogs.

of the three, jim asked me which would be the most fun to write, and after a little hesitation (i’d have to do so much research to write the stripper with the heart of gold), i decided i’d do the kill mom story.

don’t get me wrong.  i love my mom.  the guy who wrote throw momma from the train loved his mom.  it’s just that you can see so many rich veins for humor and insight in a family like mine.  they say write what you know.  so i figure i can universalize my experience of growing up in my family, and make something that will entertain everybody.

and piss off my family.  which is something i have to balance.  i just want you all to know, all my relatives, that i really do love you, and i’m not trying to rub your noses in anything by mentioning what a brat you were when you were eleven.  we were all brats.  we were horrible children at times.  our parents were horrible parents at times.  even the dogs were little shits at times.  if i choose to concentrate on the dysfunctional aspects of homelife rather than beaming about the good times, please know that it’s not out of spite, but from a desire to poke fun at sad humanity, struggling to rise above the purely stupid.

as usual with my blogged novels, i will have several categories.  the first will consist of plot notes, character profiles, and research.  the second category will be the story itself, posted every day as i finish it.  if i have time i’ll put in links, but i’m not promising anything.

in these early days, with over a month to go before nanowrimo starts, i will be figuring out the plot and fleshing out the characters.  as with all my novels, this one will get very complicated, and will turn into pure farce by the end.  by the time i start writing, i should have a complete plot outline and a good idea who all the characters are.  i am only using my family as a starting point; the characters won’t really resemble my brothers and sisters but bunches of friends and acquaintances down thru the years.  likewise mom won’t really be mom, but the repository of such characters as wilma flintstone, lucille ball, maude, harpies and crones from myths and goblins from nightmares.  i think that the closer i can get to the mythic, the better, the more true a story i will be able to tell.  if i choose kali as my icon for mom, i will be doing a tribute to the righteously angry disrespected mother, which we all know eats her children.  and so she should.

i like looking at the dark side of peoples’ personalities.  i like seeing weaknesses acted out, lessons unlearned even tho they happen again and again.  i enjoy despairing of anyone ever overcoming the base human traits we all share.  it makes me feel like i haven’t done so bad.

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