Gratefulgiving

I wrote a really long post here detailing the last couple of days, covering Thanksgiving, Black Friday, eating too much, drinking way too much, and generally struggling to get to all systems working within operational parameters. However, I don’t really want this blog to just be a journal of events that I might look back on fondly in a few years, I want to write interesting things, so I deleted it. And now I’m writing about how I deleted it. Yes, that’s much more interesting. Well done, Dominic.

On a side note about writing interesting things, I should probably write a little about how NaNoWriMo has gone for me. Well, I stopped writing at 12,000 words out of the target of 50,000. Lame, right? I could point you to the relocation to a foreign country, recent illness, but then you’d probably point to my posts about how much fun work is and how I’m playing Warcraft. And then you’d rub my nose in my post where I complained about how I never finish any projects and I’m proud of taking part in NaNoWriMo as it will kick my butt into actually finishing something. Then I’d probably just sit quietly for a moment before a tear rolls down my face and I realise I’ll never amount to a hill of beans, or something.

Anyway, I figured out where I went wrong, which is a good start to doing something right, I think. For the parts of my novel where I knew what had to happen, I was able to blaze through a couple of thousand words at a time and really enjoy doing it. Some people on the forums for NaNoWriMo state that they find this the least interesting part of the process, but I really love fleshing out dialogue and encounters between characters. Where I get stuck, however, is when I don’t know what should happen next. I know that I should just write whatever comes to mind, but I can’t. I can’t get past the fact that I have no plan, no matter how much I may have written in the past that I want to get past it.

What should I do, then? I think that the best way forward for me is to make a plan for my novel, with a deadline for that plan. Nothing detailed, just an overall plot arc, maybe a couple of subplots, major character names and basic personalities, motives, etc. But nothing detailed. You hear that, brain? Once I have the overall plan, I can put together a scene breakdown: A list of scenes, not necessarily in order, that need filling out for the novel to have a solid three acts, conflict and to flesh out the story that I want to tell. Then, I think, I’ll be able to actually write those scenes and complete the world and the characters.

As long as I set myself deadlines, I can do this. And if it means me learning to work with a plan, but not to let myself get stuck in the plan, that’s a great lesson that I need to learn.

Wow, that turned out to be quite the side note, huh? So back to what I should write about: Thanksgiving.

My Turkey Day was fantastic. An unexpected invitation to dinner, and a hope that noone would go out of their way for the vegetarian, ended with a great night with fun conversation, a dancing voice-activated R2-D2 (which only reacts to dreadful American accents and whiny Luke Skywalker voice), and new friends (well, kinda; I knew them from before, but never really socialised with them) who are going to be neighbours. And everybody needs good neighbours.

I think the tradition is that I’m supposed to give thanks for something, however in my previous attempt at this post, I ended up coming to the conclusion that I’m thankful for everything that I should be thankful for. When I tried to pin down who I should be thanking, though, I ran into trouble. I don’t subscribe to a higher power, or anything relating to predetermination of events, so it’s difficult for me to thank anyone for things when I see them as the result of hard work, fortuitous decision-making and raw chance. I have, then, to just be grateful in general that my life has become what it is, and I’m able to share it with the people I share it with. A hand-wringing liberal sentiment, if ever there was one.

Sadly, Gratefulgiving just doesn’t have the same ring to it.