Thursday, November 17, 2011


So you know how I was talking about studying for the GRE a while back? Yeah. Well, I changed my mind. (Surprise, surprise. I know!)

What am I doing now, you ask?

I'm writing a novel. 

(I love how when I say that in person it garners a round of uproarious laughter.) 

OK, so here is the deal: For those of you who are uninformed, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, if you will). People all over the world sign up to write an entire 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I love the idea and the challenge of it. I decided way back in Belgrade, as I browsed through a bookstore on a rainy evening that I would give novel writing a shot this November. Even though I already have a book with my name on the cover, writing a novel has always been on my bucket list. This seemed like a fun way to spend the month!

Until I decided to study for the GRE, and well, when you are learning 100 math concepts and memorizing Greek and Latin roots you don't have a lot of time for novel writing. I thought, maybe next year. That is until I put the whole PhD idea on pause...

And now, it's novel time! Why not? At least I'll have something to show for myself a the end of the month. Besides, it's incredibly fun to tell people you are writing a novel. I started a whole 9 days late, but hey, I like a good challenge!

So far, it hasn't been too bad. But, in what seems happens around the 5-10,000 word mark, last night I was so sick of my main character. My plot was boring me. You know what is the worst though? Well, my main character is mainly me. The plot? It's pretty much my life.

Why I decided to do that is beyond me--I have no idea what to do with my life at the moment, so how am I supposed to move my character along? I'm much better at solving problems that aren't my own though, so what did I do? I drank 4 cups of coffee, got a piece of scratch paper and let the ideas flow.

Nobody's actually going to read this, so I might as well have some fun, right? So, just for fun here are the random things I'm contemplating for my character (and...may or may not be contemplating for myself):

  • Alpaca farming (Oprah gave me that one!)
  • Move to Haiti
  • Learn to make coconut flan
  • Marry a crown prince
  • Become a mail carrier
  • Be a professional canned-laughter laugher
  • Go to the circus
  • Fortune cookie fortune writer
  • hot air balloon racer
  • quilt sewer
  • befriend monks
  • turn Nancy Drew on her neighbors
  • Road trip!
  • become a travel agent
  • set more things on fire
  • move to the north pole
  • get a grant doing research somewhere
  • sail the Mississippi
  • start a band
  • learn to dance flamenco
  • volunteer at a hospital?/prison?/nursing home? and meet some interesting people
  • deliver flowers
  • give myself an education in the public library
  • write a lot of postcards 
  • raise armadillos
See? The novel is looking much better. I'm at 10,000 words and things are about to get interesting!

PS. Want to join me?!? It's not too late! (And as you can tell from the list above, no skill or grammar is required.) I know some people who have barely started, and next week is Thanksgiving--lots of time to write folks! Check out for more info (and graphs and pep talks!)

PPS. Friends are giving me even more fun ideas! Feel free to comment with more ideas! : )


Anonymous said...

I can see a series of novels....each country you live in you have a different job to support yourself

Klgbass said...

Your character experiences a "blip" in time and moves forward 10 years. Everyone around you has memories of those 10 years with you. You try to recreate those memories. I see a made for television movie in your future!

Malisa said...

Maybe your character should be a student who is studying for a PhD and decides her life is boring (compared to her missionary brother) ;-D and she wants to write a novel but has to do some traveling and exciting adventuring to get some great ideas (ooh and after months/years of travel and adventure she decides she doesn't really want to write a book after all and goes back to school. I love Karen's idea and the first one, by the way. I have thought you should write a book from the very first time I read your blog. Oh, also, for coconut flan all the recipes I've tried call for coconut in and on the flan but I personally didn't like the texture. I love the smoothness of flan. So I use just coconut milk in the flan and top it with toasted coconut.