NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Word count: 3,643.

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Okay, so I cheated slightly today inasmuch as I went over a couple of previously drafted chapters and reworked them so they fit with all the significant plot changes I’ve made during recent planning sessions.  But I did write some totally new bits so I reckon it’s alright.  Plus it’s a great way to encourage yourself and get your juices flowing again.  Anyway, I’m actively trying really hard to care less what people think of me, so screw you if you’re judging me, I’m living my life.

I’m sorry I didn’t mean that I don’t wish for you to be screwed you’re being nice enough to read this blog and I so appreciate anyone who takes the time out to enjoy this please don’t hate me I’m sorry.

I’m going to try and blog about as much of the experience of NaNoWriMo as possible, perhaps even sharing some flavours of the project I’m working on (without giving away too many spoilers, of course!).  Given that my main project is writing an average of 2,100 words a day, this blogging will probably take the form of a small, pithy meditation or brief summation of a learning experience. Crikey, I make stuff sound fun.  So for these next few days I thought I’d backtrack and share with you some of the prep that I’ve been doing…

Goodreads is ruddy brilliant.

I have spent the last month compiling a comprehensive list of books I felt would inform either the tone or content of the novel I am writing (a semi-fictionalised, semi-autobiographical story of a woman with – you’ve guessed it – chronic pelvic pain).  I’ve included my top five reads below.

MY TOP 5 READS

  1. Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm – Mara Altman.  Funny, candid, and fantastically well-written, this book is probably the closest I could get to what I’d like my novel to emulate, in style, tone, and to a certain extent, content. Mara writes with courage and tongue planted firmly in cheek, as she navigates through embarrassing anecdote after embarrassing anecdote as a sexual ingénue. Plus, she was really nice and graced me with a small exchange on Twitter. Anyone who wants their mind broadening and their funny bone tickling, get involved.
  2. One Day – David Nicholls. Nicholls is quickly joining Ian McEwan and Daphne du Maurier on my list of favourite authors. He governs his writing with such thoughtful details, never taking the reader for granted, but rather always operating under the assumption that their intellect is engaged, as they are taken along Emma and Dexter’s rollercoaster journey. Warm, amusing and achingly human, One Day left me both desperate to read more and fearfully bereft when the story drew to a close: perfection in paper form.
  3. The Body Broken: A Memoir – Lynne Greenberg. This honest and courageous memoir was a moving delight to read. I am sure that for someone unversed in chronic pain, it could easily be seen as heavy-going. However, to read the frank thoughts and feelings of someone who is enduring a similar daily battle to you is immensely encouraging and heartening (though of course you wouldn’t wish it on anyone). I found this copy via Abe Books (an excellent second-hand website I used for many of my Cambridge set texts) and devoured it in about two sittings. The spoonie community is indebted to Lynne for her poetry and fortitude.
  4. The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year Sue Townsend. Sue Townsend is the brilliant mind behind The Diary of Adrian Mole series, excerpts from which I can remember reading in English class aged about 11 years. I recall being struck by the gentle yet thoroughly pointed comedy of her writing, observational and relatable and yet entirely absurd all at once. If I can replicate something akin to this tone, I shall weep with joy! This book is particularly wonderful and really resonated with me, a young woman who spends a lot of her time in bed, or watching her mother (who is now in her sixties) struggle to navigate the pressures of womanly life now that her body is not as obedient as it once was. We females do have a lot of pressure on us; if you’ve ever felt it, regardless of your age, this story will touch your heart and leave you feeling moved and empowered.
  5. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” – Lena Dunham. I must confess, I’m not a huge fan of Girls, neither the writing or the acting. I find myself coming over unbearably British and thinking thoroughly unchivalrous things about the women’s whiny American accents and wanting to staple my ears shut. So I probably really benefitted from not investing in the audiobook version of this particular work. Nasal articulations aside, I was thrilled and a little shocked to learn what a CRACKING writer Dunham actually is: daring, irreverent, unfalteringly articulate, and most movingly, real. The “good girls” among us might not be able to relate to everything she outlines in the memoir (yes, I’m one of the boring ones), but the lessons she has learned about life and self-empowerment are applicable to all. I would recommend this book to all my young female friends. And the young male ones. And the old female friends. Pretty much everyone really. Except my Dad. Don’t think it’s really his thing. But who am I to judge.

Catch up with you tomorrow,

Ros

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