Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And the knives up in the kitchen are all too dull to smile.

Jiscilla snapped this photo of me before our plane took off to Austin.

I am back to post again! November was quite a busy month; I traveled, worked, played, and read! Oh, and I wrote a novel.

Yes! I completed it. That's why you see that pretty little banner in the left column now!

I began writing my novel on November 1st, on a plane from Chicago to New York. I continued writing in my Brooklyn apartment. I wrote it in Providence and on a train racing over Connecticut to take me back to Brooklyn. I wrote it flying to Austin, in Austin between great life moments with my best friends Christy and Jiscilla, and I wrote it flying back from Austin with Jesse sleeping in the seat next to me. I wrote it in Massachusetts with my Mom, Dad, brother, and various pets bustling around me. I wrote from night into mornings. I wrote the final sentence (one of the only sentences I spent a lot of time on) and thus finished 50,211 words at approximately ten o'clock last night.

I am exhausted!

But I feel quite accomplished. I mean, I knew I always had it in me, I just never knew when I'd get around to it. Boom! Done, sitting on my desktop. And that's where it will stay until 2011. I've always been someone superstitious about my "serious" writing, and since this is just a draft, nobody will get a chance to read it until a rigorous editing process takes place. Sorry if you were expecting a link to it here! Not even Jesse is privy to the document!

I can tell you some things that were influential, or, rather, that I had taken in during the process and maybe influenced me a bit.

Run River by Joan Didion - I finished this book right before I started writing; it's structure is the main reason I made my novel's time structure a bit round-about. The book is bleak and beautiful and I love it dearly.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates - another depressing book about two people's lives that I read at the beginning of November; there were some real mean, gutting, despicable things uttered by some of the characters and it made me think of some of the dialogue between my own novel's characters.

Reprise (dir. by Joachim Trier) - This was probably the most motivating factor in writing a novel. Of course, for me, it came from a film. It's a Norwegian film about two novelist best friends and it's fresh but bleak, and I got caught up in it right before November started, and I've watched it twice since the first time. There's a scene in which one of them writes until dawn, and there's a scene where a character shuts herself in the bathroom after a stark realization, and these were especially motivating to me.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - I'm in the middle of this southern novel right now, and I find myself thinking in a drawl sometimes, and I so happened to make one of my minor characters originally from the South. It's another bleak novel (really hitting up that tone this month, huh?), but the theme of loneliness pulls at my heart strings every time I read it. Not to mention, the author - she wrote this impressive novel when she was only twenty-three. Mark that as more motivation.

And finally, music. I found myself sometimes walking the streets of Manhattan alone (and once in Chicago, too), listening to my iPod and thinking of my story, my characters. I listened mainly to soft, sad music - Ryan Adams (but I always turn to him when the weather gets cold anyway), Aimee Mann, The Avett Brothers and some Cardigans. But when it actually came to writing, I could only listen to solo piano music, a genre station on Pandora. I found some really great music, and it was part inspired by the fact that I also played this piano cover of the Pixies' "Where is My Mind?" on repeat for much of my writing as well.

I'm excited to not feel like I have a second job. I would go to work, come home, eat, and delve right into the writing on most days. I'm excited for all that December has in store. At the same time, it's a little strange to realize I have a real attachment to my story and the characters. They started coming to me in my dreams, and I was thinking about the plot whenever I had a free moment. I know I'll see them again in January, though.

Where do you look for inspiration for projects? Any body else become a NaNoWriMo winner this year?


  1. Congrats on NaNoWriMo!

    It's not easy feat. Major props to you.

  2. Congratulations! Quite an accomplishment, I don't know how you did it with all that you had going on. Great job! :)

  3. Jen - Thank you!!! I don't know how I did it either ;)

  4. Congratulations on accomplishing your goal! It's a major feat - definitely one to feel proud of.

  5. Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment. I hope I end up with it in book form some day :)

  6. CONGRATS! Cannot wait for you to be a published author. Side note: do you know what you are going to do with it now? If not, definitely email my cousin Cristina. She might be able to help or at least give some guidance!

  7. Jen, Hillary, Sarah, Kaleigh, and Liz - Thanks ladies!!

    Liz - after I've edited it to the best of my abilities, perhaps I'll reach out to Cristina!

  8. You seriously rock. Congrats!

  9. Congratulations on the HUGE accomplishment ladybird! :) Hats off to you!

  10. Congratulations Jessica! You're amazing!

  11. The Pixie's piano cover is so great. Congrats on NaNoWriMo!