Thursday, November 03, 2005

A recent letter

Dear Internal Editor,

I am saddened to have to write this letter, and I hope that you will be able to respect my wishes and that we will remain friends at its close. You have an excellent role to play in giving me little nudges when my sentences don't gel. My friends have commented that you have a wonderful way with descriptive clauses. I value your time and energy which you've already dedicated to this NaNoWriMo project. Nonetheless, I have come to the conclusion that it is going to be very difficult to storm ahead in my goal to write a coherent 50,000 word novel during the month of November with your continued assistance.

As you will no doubt note, I am only 2 and a half days into this exercise, so perhaps my misgivings are premature. Nonetheless, I have to state concisely that my word count is still at 4,291 and so far my main character has not walked onto the page. A very, very minor character has taken over. I could feel your pain when he spent four paragraphs picking a lovely tomato. That hurt me too—-he has promised me that he will be less Proustian in the future.

Yet I'm not sure that you were correct when you insisted suddenly at the bottom of page four that it was time for bed and sent him offstage in the middle of the day. (Thank you for making him brush his teeth. He seemed to enjoy describing the sensations, and I'm sure my dental hygienist thanks you in absentia.) I am currently trying to be very, very quiet as I type so as not to wake him. I hope you can see this as an effort on my part to demonstrate my respect for you.

This morning though, as I tried to coax my main character to prance lightly across the page, I was not amused to see you treating her so roughly. She will need to spend a few moments limbering up before she woodenly declaims, "I must leave immediately on an important mission." She was, justifiably, a little miffed at this sudden turn of events. She had been looking forward to sitting at her kitchen table over a cup of tea so that she could describe her apartment for the reader. (And yes, I know that's a tired method of character sketching, but maybe it's her form of early morning yoga, a clich├ęd, self-absorbed cup of tea.) When she was bustled into packing her bags and arranging pet-sitting for her cat, I found that she became quite truculent. Indeed, there was such resistance that I had to give up writing about her entirely. Fearful of waking the slumbering giant, I had to instead introduce yet another minor character solely to meet my daily word count quota. This is not advancing the plot at all. Soon there will be no book for you to edit.

I will need your aid, no doubt about it, come December, January, and February when the time will be ripe for gutting entire sections, adding transitional paragraphs which would allow the characters to be in the same room during their critical conversations. In the meantime, I would like to suggest that perhaps you might like to take a vacation? I have not researched plane fares, but I understand that early November tends to be a good time to take advantage of off-season specials. If you were to take a month-long cruise to Alaska, which I have always wanted to do, would you tell me about it when you return?

Please know that I value your input and respect your opinions greatly. You have been an important partner in my search for "a voice." At this time however, I feel that we will have a great project to work on after the close of November, perhaps after the excitement of the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays, if you were to do me the ultimate favor of shutting up. Please. At least for the next thirty days.

Yours truly,

Suisan (Who's also Binni on NaNoWriMo)

5 comments:

Megan Frampton said...

Dear Suisan's Internal Editor:

And perhaps, if you do go to Alaska, you could take my IE with you? Maybe leave me a few plots to play with?

Good luck. You are braver than I to attempt this NaNoWriMo thing.

Laine Morgan said...

I signed up for NaNo, but have realized I can't do it. Too much other stuff to complete before I try and attempt a new project!

Good luck on your novel-I hope you write a bestseller!

CindyS said...

Dear Suisan's and Megan's Internal Editors:

Cindy's holiday anxiety would like to make the trip with you. He is definitely a bolt of electriciy and will keep you on your toes. If you get sick of him, feel free to throw him overboard as I believe he is invincible and will find his way home.

Yours with Eternal Gratitude,

CindyS

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