For the July NaNoWriMo Challenge, I have had a storyline in mind, a fictional mystery/family drama involving a young girl who moves from Florida to Minnesota and discovers that her life up till that point was based on a lie, that her family has the worse kind of hidden, attic-type secrets. I like this storyline and I keep working out the characters, ascribing them traits, motivations and desires. I can’t really rush the time spent mapping-out the foundational aspects of the story though, and each time I sit down to write, I pull out the details slowly and agonize over small things.
I thought I was going to use the July Nanowrimo to work on the FL-MN, twisted-family story line, but the whole point of this challenge is to get out of your own way for once and just kind of, well, throw up on the page. I couldn’t really do that with the FL-MN story so on the eve of the July Challenge, I opted to follow a story line that I am more familiar with, something that could flow a little more easily and be a little less serious. Thus, my Nanowrimo July writing challenge has turned into a story about a bright, female attorney at a dysfunctional Miami law firm who relays all of the shit and shenanigans that accompany a collection of intense and driven 30s set of professional arguers. I’ll be “writing what I know” which should help the words flow more freely and that’s just fine for 31 limited days of writing. I can agonize over my FL-MN storyline later.
I’ve got the basic idea, characters and setting for my chick lawyer novel and I’ve got a few situational concepts that could prove to be interesting. What I don’t currently have, however, is any know-how for constructing scintillating dialog between characters (or, hell, for dialog that’s just plain funny) or a sense of pacing, etc. I’ve never done this before. I have no idea how this whole novel-writing works. But that’s the point, right? To stop thinking about everything I don’t know how to do and just do. To shut off the voices that say you can’t do it, open your mind and just, f*ing, do it.
So that’s what I’m doing.
I had a positive experience working on my story yesterday (can’t really call it a novel yet). The topic is a bit cathartic for me though, and I keep distracting myself from what my characters are doing and instead substitute things that have happened to me as an associate fresh out of law school. I find myself inserting whole paragraphs in diary form between the development of my characters. I’m okay with that though. In fact, I think it’s probably necessary. In confronting the inner workings of a profession I can’t claim to have ever loved, I am figuring out who I am/was, as an attorney, and can hopefully use the material to create a space that’s bigger than myself, with characters that have an identify apart from my own. It’s sure to be an exciting journey and hopefully one with positive, unexpected results.
Word count as of July 2nd: 3,229!