The Novel Weekend

Last week was a bit of a fog, especially the weekend of novel writing.  As you can ably deduce, I survived.  A manuscript has been sent off, and I can check off another item on my life list.  Greg and Kanti went to the mountains on an inaugural camping trip; for Kanti that is, while I wrote.  She had never officially been camping in a campsite.  Sorry folks but living in a trailer on your own property doesn't count as camping where a dog is concerned.  Greg figured being far away was wise when I was trying to achieve my novel goal.  He has learnt a thing or two in thirty years.

He was also motivated by desperately wanting me to take up camping with him again, something I have flatly refused to do since January 15, 2012 when we moved out of the trailer and into the house after nearly ten months of trailer dwelling.  I admit my resolve has weakened slightly but one of the barriers has been the thought of Kanti in a campground, tethered on a leash.  She is ninety-three pounds now and isn't a pound overweight; she is just a big big german shepherd.  Think forward to huge dog on chain or rope trying to leap on passing strangers or wrap herself and her chain around your legs.  Greg took Kanti on the camping trip to prove to me that she would behave and that it was possible.  I stayed home to write to prove to myself that I could do it and that it was possible.

Friday night I roared through the house, wiping counters, washing laundry, vacuuming floors, and paying bills.  I squeezed our normal Saturday activities into a few hours on Friday night so that I could be free of any guilt or distractions when I began the writing challenge on Saturday morning.  Then I went to bed, early, with a misty idea of how the story might go and a couple of vague characters in my head.  I slept.

Saturday, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.  In between I ate and relieved myself.  I tried to make sure I didn't just drink coffee because this was only the beginning of the marathon and water was a far better option.  Sometimes I got stuck but then another writing sign pointed me in a new direction and off I went again.  It was about a fourteen-hour day of writing, and I figured I had nearly the right amount of word count for day one so I headed to bed.  I slept.

Sunday morning when I woke up I was overcome by inadequacy and stuck.  Fortunately I had read something on the 3-Day Novel website that warned me I would feel that way.  At least it was normal, or as normal as it could be when one is trying to crank out a novel from scratch in three days.  I bravely turned on the computer again, read through Friday's work and decided to change the story line.  That was wise, because once again the words flowed freely.  There were lots of serendipitous moments that I am saving for my first interview with Oprah, so I won't spill them here.   Save to say that every time I had a crazy idea to incorporate and needed to validate whether it might be feasible, that validation presented itself in a variety of formats.

Meanwhile throughout, I received a number of text messages from Greg.  They went something like this.  "Kanti's a great camper.  She's being so good.  Kanti's a great camper.  Our first night went really well in the trailer.  Kanti's a great camper."  These and similar messages were spread out, one line at a time throughout the weekend.  Sometimes I would respond and other times I was just too immersed in my novel to care.  But you might notice a thread through those messages.  A very unsubtle attempt to sway me to thinking that camping with Kanti was wonderful.  Finally I couldn't stand it any longer so I sent my daughter-in-law a text to verify the stories, you see there were others along on the camping trip so I could ferret out the truth.  No need to be bamboozled by that husband of mine.

I sent Amanda a text and asked whether all the 'great' reports I was getting were true.  She came back with a capital letter affirmative.  Kanti was not just doing great, she was doing GREAT.  Meanwhile, the novel writing continued through Monday and was printed off on Monday night in it's final form for mailing.  It's a bit old school and you could send it electronically but I liked the idea of putting it into a box and making a trip to the post office.  There was something quite satisfying about coming out the other side from an experience like that with something tangible in your hand.

Overall, it was a satisfying weekend.  I have no illusions that it is a literary masterpiece but I do think it has some very good bones and it was a good test.  I don't need to try to write a novel again in a weekend but I might need to try to write a novel in a longer time window and put some meat on those bones and I might have to relinquish my no-camping-ever-again stance if Kanti is truly such a great camper.