Camp NaNoWriMo begins. Also, sleet.

Colour photograph of red and blue shopfronts in Edinburgh shot through a sleet-soaked window.

So spring is a total lie. We had sleet and snow over the last few days and it was as beautiful as it was bizarre. I was sitting in my car waiting for my husband to finish work yesterday and I realised the street outside the window looked like a surreal painting, so I took a photo. I know my heart belongs to this city when the weather is vile and all I see is art waiting to happen. Edinburgh, my love, never change ❤

Nothing to do with the weather, but Camp NaNoWriMo has begun! I know I can shut out the world and write furiously at any time of the year, but it’s extra wonderful having a thing to do it for, especially knowing that so many other writers are also doing the thing at the same time.

I feel so much more connected to my as yet untitled project now that I’ve given myself the freedom to let it go where it wants. I arranged most of the existing parts into some sort of structure so I could see where the gaps were and now it’s flowing. I think about it as I fall asleep. I wake up thinking about it. It feels so fucking good.

I’m getting to know my characters all over again and they feel so much more real without the expectation of redemption weighing on them. There’s an amazing sense of liberation that comes with telling the fictional people in your head, “You don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t have to be a decent human being underneath it all. If you’re awful, just be awful with style.”

This is still very much a first draft, or at least a first-and-a-half draft, so most of what I write over the next month will be chopped and changed as the project progresses, but I feel like I’ve found the soul of the book and possibly the soul of my drive to write.

My favourite books (and films and TV shows) tend to revolve around the unspoken question, “How could this get worse?” I find happy endings, and even conclusive endings, frustrating. I find good people frustrating. When faced with a good person in any form of entertainment media, I immediately start digging around in the guts of their character, seeking flaws that will make them interesting. If I finish a book (or film or TV show) and feel like, “That was deeply upsetting, those people were terrible and that didn’t feel like the end,” I want more. I want to want more. It’s what I hope for when consuming other people’s creative output. It’s what I want to feel about my own work.

I’m going to share excerpts here over the next few weeks. I take part in various writing hashtag games on Twitter in an ongoing way so I share lines there, but I have a little bit more space here. And I figure maybe you might want to see what I’m working on 🙂

Three days ago, I woke up in the early hours and the other side of the bed was cold. You weren’t in the bathroom so I wandered into the living room, half expecting to find you glaring daggers at a screen or swearing under your breath. But you weren’t. You were sitting on the railing of the balcony with your back to the open air and a half-empty bottle of vodka in your hand.

With bare feet, in black silk pyjama bottoms and a tight black sweater, hair dishevelled and dark circles under your eyes, you looked like a fashion story about beauty’s descent into madness. I imagined you falling and felt a shiver dance across the back of my neck.

I imagined pushing you.

6 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo begins. Also, sleet.

    1. Thank you! In the last two days I’ve trashed almost half of what I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year, or at least put it in the “don’t like this in general but dredge it for interesting dialogue” pile and it feels half amazing and half terrifying. Trying to remember if there’s always a phase of vague insanity at the beginning of write-all-the-things months.

      Liked by 1 person

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