Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Infinite Monkey Theorem by Jane Kindred

Do you hear that sound? That clickity-clacking, cicada-like buzzing permeating the air? That’s either the sound of a thousand monkeys accidentally typing Shakespeare’s complete works or the sound of a million completely mental writers plunging into NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those not in the know, when writers pledge to write a 50,000-word novel in
30 days, racing to beat their own word-count records.

For some writers, completing a novel in 30 days is an average month. I am not one of those monkeys—er, writers. My usual pace is 1,000 words a day when I’m in the groove, and it takes me about three to four months to write a full-length novel. In an average year, I write three. This year, I have written exactly zero novels. The Shakespeare monkeys are gaining on me.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I finished up a series early in the year and had a long dry spell where I couldn’t manage to put down a single word. In June, the words finally started flowing again, but the pace has been extremely slow, thanks to my aging cat who can’t cope with not sitting on my lap. I’ve been writing on the weekends at a café, but I’m determined to get this thing done this year, so I figured NaNo would be the perfect opportunity.

I had close to 50,000 words written by the end of October, which is about half the length of what I expect this book to be, so I made sure I got to the 50,000 mark exactly by Halloween night so that I could commit to writing 50,000 in November. At midnight, my NaNo counter began at zero.

I wasn’t sure I had it in me to write steadily after dithering about for so many months. I knew I couldn’t write at my desk without the cat screaming bloody murder, and I can’t afford to go to the café every day, so I decided to write on my iPad with the external keyboard—while sitting on my bed with a cat commandeering my lap.

It’s working, so far. I have to put the iPad off to the side and twist myself in half—and my neck and spine are not appreciating it—but I’ve kept up a steady pace. I’ve logged 12,000 new words in the first six days, which, at the pace I’ve been going all year, is more than a month’s worth of writing. I’m hopeful that I’m actually going to finish this thing—and hopeful that it won’t be a giant steaming pile of monkey funk when I’m done.

I need to get back to it, so I’m going to wrap this up. But here’s a little peek at the fruits of my labor:

Excerpt from the novel tentatively titled The Blood Court:

When her fingers relaxed in mine and her cries tapered off into wistful moans, I released her, sitting back on my heels and spreading my skirt around me. “I believe I have fulfilled the terms of our current bargain, have I not?”

“You cheated.”

She was pouting, her cheeks flushed pink and her swollen lips, crimson with increased circulation, belying her professed unhappiness. With her damp hair tumbled about her head against the silk and the brightness of pleasure in her eyes, she was, for the moment, the encapsulation of pure, unadulterated beauty. Which was not to say that Queen Arania, Consort of the Ruling Hand of Yliastr, was not beautiful in her own right, but the haughtiness and unhappiness that normally spoiled her complexion were temporarily absent. And her borrowed coloring enhanced the effects of her unguarded delight.

It was the flush and heat of my Salamand-touched blood—Freya’s vitality lent to me through a single kiss—that granted Arania her momentarily exquisite beauty. I hated her for being the undeserving recipient of my Freya’s gift. But I could not deny that I had enjoyed bestowing it. I tucked the ache of the guilt of that betrayal away. I would punish myself for it later. Right now, it was a price I was willing to pay.

And now it was time to spoil the purity of the queen’s pleasure. I regretted it just a little.


Diane Burton said...

I admire anyone who tackles NaNo. A friend not only participates in NaNo, she's an area coordinator, which means she hosting write-ins, mentoring, and cheering on everyone, besides writing 50k words. Whew! Good luck to you, Jane. So glad the words are flowing.

Maureen said...

Good luck, Jane! Sounds like you're in the groove! I am also participating in NaNo- I love it! My daughter participates as well and won her first NaNo (at 16 :)
Great excerpt!

Nancy Gideon said...

You go, girl! Though I can't commit to NaNo (I'm too OCD and it would drive me insane), I'm where you were. I haven't written a word on my new WIP since I started it at a write in in September. Not. One. Word. I'll blame it on revolving job stress - one I loved ending due to retirement, one I loathe filling in (very poorly) my financial needs, and a new one I can't wait to start right after Thanksgiving. The well was completely dry and my writing hours filled in with binge watching Mr. Robot and Hemlock Grove. I'm hoping a three day write in this weekend will spark that creative fervor once again. Your excerpt is awesome!

The Cynical Sailor said...

I'm in awe of the "monkeys" who can regularly churn out a novel every month. I double I'll ever become one of those writers. I'd love to get to the point where I can release three books a year.

Jane Kindred said...

Thanks, guys! I’m falling a little behind with day-job burnout, but I have time off coming up at the end of the month, and I’m hoping to marathon write during that week.

Nancy, I can totally relate. I’ve binge-watched more shows this year than I’ve probably watched in my entire life. Also loved Hemlock Grove.