Remember that? The voice over from Rocky and Bullwinkle, starting out another sly, clever cartoon? This might appeal only to what we call “Those of a certain age.” But that’s okay since we’re apparently an important demographic. I wonder if all of use realize how important the “Baby Boomers” are as a buying entity? And in particular I wonder how many other readers are not as enamored of cutesy young heroines as I am? That came out convoluted, didn’t it? Sorry, let me try again.
We see so many heroines in their early twenties. Perky and cute, of course. With heroes in late twenties to mid thirties, so they’re allowed some maturity though they don’t always act that way. But way too many publisher guidelines require a female lead to be early to mid twenties. Do you think this is because people want to put themselves in the place of the young people when they read? I don’t know about you, I wouldn’t relive my twenties for any inducement up to and including a dragon topiary on my front lawn.
However, that’s just me. How do you feel about age limits on your characters?
Getting back to where I started before I so rudely interrupted myself, the title of this blog was used as a bridge and introduction to the next episode of “Moose and Squirrel.” Which would segue me into a brief where the heck have I been and why am I back? Kind of boring for everyone so I’ll just hit you with where I was in November and where I hope to be going from now. Like so many others I participated in NaNo, which I’ve done in the past with varying degrees of success. This year I got so much more from the event than just a lot of words on the page, and I’m going to share some of that with you.
Iâ€™m remembering a Country song, something like â€œIâ€™m a Winnerâ€ from back when I was in my younger years. Something about â€œhowever much Iâ€™m hurting the other guy is worse, which is what makes me a winner.â€ Ummm, here it is: WINNER Yep, as silly now as it was all those years ago
Youâ€™re no doubt wondering what this has to do with NaNo, that month of living for the written word. More formally known as National Novel Writing Month, the goal (win) is 50,000 words. Does that mean anyone who writes less than 50,000 is a loser? I saw this terrific meme on FaceBook of a heavy man running, slowly, with the caption of â€œstill beats any couch potatoâ€ Iâ€™ve been looking for that picture but unfortunately my Google search brought up a lot of mean spirited fat mocking sites. Which is no doubt the subject of a future blog.
So, winning at NaNo. This year I competed through a team. Starting with six of us, two dropped out immediately, one faded about halfway through. I made it to 39,000 words and stalled. The last two streaked past the finish line early and kept writing. A writer on the FaceBook NaNo page kept us apprised of her progress, achieving word count the second week. Naturally I wished her all the best but it was difficult to focus on my paltry 1,500 words per day in the face of her comet like progress.
Who were the winners? On the surface, that unbelievably prolific author, and my two team mates won. I could say I lost. Except I got back into writing and I also built on a idea Iâ€™d had in the back of my mind ever since Bethany talked about the womenâ€™s shelter in California.Teach Me To Forget She mentioned an environmental expert, and at that time I knew Iâ€™d be writing her story.
Obviously November 2013 was the start of that day, but I didnâ€™t get all the way to 50,000 words. Loser?
My extremely clever niece got a good start on NaNo, I think made it halfway and couldnâ€™t decide where sheâ€™d go from there. She has a really great story idea and sheâ€™s motivated. She even got in some 3,000 word days. Then she hit that wall, and couldnâ€™t write more. Loser?
We could discuss degrees of winning, but only one runner blasts through the finish line first. Everyone else is merely in the race somewhere. However, writing is not a race with only one winner. Every single person who made the effort to sign up for NaNo was a step or more above fellow writers who only thought about trying.
Even those who dropped off the team after less than a week accomplished something, if only the outline and story beat sheet suggested prior to starting NaNo. Very possibly those who chose other commitments over finishing in the month continued to work on their story, albeit not at that frenetic pace demanded by the word commitment. Losers?
So where is this rambling taking us? When it comes to matters of creativity, as long as we are creating, we are winning. Sometimes that creating comes slowly, as in a paragraph a day. Sometimes it floods out, drenching us in images almost too fast to capture them on a page. Creating something from essentially nothing since a writerâ€™s tool of creation is the imagination.
That makes all of us who deal with the voices in our head by writing down their stories…WINNERS