In the Midst of Madness - Updated Reprise
|My First Win|
I originally wrote this article right after my first foray into NaNoWriMo. Looking back, I wonder how I ever managed to finish that first story. It hasn't been published yet, but it's in the queue to be done after my other sci-fi novels make it to print. No telling when that will be.... It still holds true, though my youngest son is now 20 and my eldest son has moved out. I've participated every year since, winning each time, usually finishing early. During this month, I will share excerpts from each.
Finding time to write is something every author deals with. Some of us have more time to devote to it than others, but still find that life intrudes. I just spent the month of November taking the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. While it's invigorating to test my writing abilities, it also tests my patience.
For those of you who have never heard of NaNoWriMo, I'll explain. The participants make the personal commitment to write a 50,000 word novel beginning November 1st and ending November 30th at midnight. There are no money prizes, no one reads the novel but you, it doesn't even have to be perfect, it just has to be done. For this, you get a caffeine addiction, sleep deprivation, frazzled nerves, numb fingers, a nifty little logo to put on your web site, a printable certificate and the satisfaction of knowing that despite everything, you persevered!
It's amazing how quickly life intrudes when I set a goal like this for myself. Everyone in the household becomes "needy", particularly my youngest son. Things he could do for himself suddenly take on far more importance, meaning that Mom has to get up and take care of it. The phone becomes my enemy. I can go for weeks at a time when the phone won't ring, but once the November challenge begins, it rings all the time. I'm not being paranoid, I kept track! The week before NaNo began, I had a total of five phone calls in a week - one of which was for me. As of November 1st, I had at least that many a day - and most of them for me.
Meals are another thing that interfere. Deciding what to fix becomes a major decision that I usually leave to the last minute. Grocery shopping becomes a task that eats into my writing time, irritating me further. When I get home, the actual preparation is the most annoying because it's accompanied by complaints about the meal.
NaNoWriMo is not the only time that these things are problematic, I simply use that as an example. During any given day, the precious moments I have to get the ideas out of my head and into written form, are limited. I don't know about other authors, but my family fails to recognize that what I am doing is actually "work". To them, it's Mom sitting at the computer - again. Old hat, since ninety percent of my free time is at the computer. If I'm not writing, I'm reading what I wrote and editing it with a mixture of brutality and care. The words, "I'm working", don't make much of an impression on three hungry boys.
Somehow, in the midst of all this madness, I find enough time to get things done. The precious words get faithfully added to the text even as my eyes cross and my head hits the keyboard. Life, though it interferes, is what I draw from to fill my books with lively conversation, anecdotes and action. So, though I may resent the interruptions, I welcome them, because it shows me that I am a part of life, not set apart - and that is truly a writer's richest resource.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
Below is a short excerpt from Chapter 11 of The Wall of Time - Lone Wolf Book 7
|My First NaNo Novel|
Wil smiled. Not everyone would consider it to be one. It was the kind of smile that made honest men wonder what they'd done to deserve God's wrath and guilty men remember how they'd earned it. It was the expression on his face when he was anticipating something incredibly exciting, or terribly unpleasant. In this case, it was probably both. Whistling tunelessly, he requested permission to land.
He hit the atmosphere of Aolani and landed at the spaceport. With his ship secured, he walked to the Whips and Chains Bagnio. It was the worst establishment on the planet. Their whores were dirty, drug addicted and disease ridden. Only the really sick or twisted would work there. Eboneé had enjoyed her position for five years, longer than anyone else.
Making his way through the crowded streets outside the bordellos, drug emporiums and bars, he saw a clutch of people outside the 'Dirty Seadog Pub and Massage Parlor.' He couldn't be sure, but it looked like a bunch of dwarfs dressed as clowns. They were singing an old rock 'n roll song slightly off key and rubbing peanut butter on a group of unhappy aliens who looked rather like giant slugs. As he passed them, he noticed the distinctive, fruity odor of cheap, diet Cheerwine. No wonder they were so boisterous. Diet Cheerwine was the poor man's all purpose mind altering drug.
A scrawny man in a dirty black leather thong and studded dog collar answered the door. He had a name tattooed on is skinny chest: Cliff Brooks. Cliff escorted Wil into the lobby and told Eboneé she was wanted below. The whore took her time, making sure she was perfectly attired for her new playmate.
When she arrived at the head of the stairs, she had on a skimpy black leather outfit that barely covered her breasts and crotch and didn't cover anything else. Her thigh high black boots had metal heels and she wore gloves with metal spikes. Chains adorned every available surface and a nasty looking black snake whip hung at her hip. She was the epitome of the S&M Dominatrix.
Wil had to do his best to hide his snarl with a smile. She was so overdone, so full of herself, it was almost painful. Eboneé might think she was tough, but she had just met her match. Wil had dressed just as carefully for his visit. Wearing an ill fitting, wrinkled gray suit, dingy white shirt and a bland tie, he stumbled clumsily up the stairs. Not even the clothing could disguise the magnificent physique under them. Eboneé liked her job, she liked men, especially good looking, strong men. This one was going to be a treat. She led him to her room, decorated with a wide variety of sex toys from all over the galaxy. Humans were not the only ones who liked it rough.
Wil smiled as he walked through the door. This expression wasn't frightening. He did his best to convey a man who was excited as hell to be in her presence.