The Finish Line - unsurprisingly deceptive

I think my muse has gone from beer to tea.

I used to head down to the corner store, the Amoco at the bottom of Tilly Mill and pick up a cold Coors 40. I’d brown bag the thing, sneak it into my room and sip the beverage while I typed long into the night. The slight buzz would propel my keystrokes, and from time to time something good would emerge. I used to do this quite often. In fact I did it last night (and ended up playing World of Warcraft instead of writing).

However, since I got back from Europe, I’ve been drinking tea. It started when I would wake up in my Amsterdam hostel. I’d stumble down the steep stairs, greeted by the smiling hostel owner who would ask me if I wanted a cup of tea. I graciously accepted, started to like it, and now its becoming habitual.

So while writing under the influence of beer was filled with desperation, haunted by deadline; writing with tea is just as contemplative but a bit more upbeat. Maybe things won�t be as melancholy and edgy in my stories. But at least I wont suffer the same.

In related news: I beat NaNoWriMo. Yes, that’s right. I wrote 50,000 words in the month of November. A short novel.

It’s definitely an interesting experiment, and I’d recommend it to anyone, regardless if you fashion yourself a wannabe writer or not. I read Stephen King’s On Writing about halfway through. King puts forth an interesting philosophy of writing technique. He says throw out your outlines and liner notes and character arcs. Throw out all your planning and the details.

Think of a situation. A one liner high concept situation. For King it would be something like: what if werewolves took over a high school? Then you think up some characters. Interesting characters with quirks and dimension. Then throw them into the mix and see what happens. Don�t plot or plan, just let it flow.

I sort of did the same thing with NaNo. I actually thought up the situation when I was hiking with my Dad. How could you stop the terrorist acts in the middle east using some crazy sci fi shenanigans? Was it possible? Of course it was possible for an engineer. Then I threw together some characters (last entry). Put em in a beer (or tea) driven writing spree and what do you get?

Well you certainly get something unexpected. I thought I could wrap the thing up around 55000 words, and I wrote a dreary, depressing end chapter. But now it just seems like foreshadowing – there was no way I could end the thing there. The villain was still on the loose, our hero had stepped down from his responsibilities, his girl had said no. This was no way to end a novel.

And so I’m not posting the thing…yet. It’s not edited in any shape or form. It might — just might — be 75% done. I’m hoping that I can wrap things up by Christmas.

On an unrelated note – the suckyness of living at home is beginning to set in. Driving thirty minutes to hang out with friends sucks. Sitting in traffic every morning and afternoon can be nerve-wracking. And though I have a cool job, relaxed schedule and I’m doing some neat things – it sure is going to be tough to top what went down this past year.

…As the world turns, I guess.

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