Sunday, October 25, 2009

Countdown: Seven days out from Nanowrimo

Seven days out from Nanowrimo's beginning is probably not a good time to hack a chunk out of the tip of your finger while chopping blueberries. (Like there's any good time for that.)

I immediately noticed that it is much harder to type with three bandaids wrapped around the end of my middle finger. (I tried four, but that was cutting off circulation.) However, without them, blood would be dripping steadily into my keyboard. Fortunately we care nothing for accuracy, so my new Nano-strategy is to stay on top of hitting the space bar at regular intervals, thus preserving my word count, if not my legibility.

This week I read a little of a book about being funny. I wasn't impressed with it because the author and I didn't see eye to eye on what is funny, so it's on it's way back to the library. However, he did make an interesting point. He said that comedy is truth and pain. I didn't entirely agree since my view of humor is filtered by the idea that humor comes from God (who is truth but not pain), so I concluded that comedy could be truth and surprise.

• Truth: Charlie Brown is going to try to kick the football. Surprise: Lucy is going to pull it away at the last moment.
• Truth: The three stooges have to carry a chunk of ice up flights and flights of stairs on a hot day. Surprise: When they get there, it will be a little ice cube.
• Truth: I chopped a chunk out of my finger tip. Surprise: We're all hoping that last bite of blueberry pancake didn't have a little extra protein in it.

So as you go forward into the Nano world, don't be afraid to put some truth into your books. And don't be afraid to add some surprises. (If you haven't done much planning, like me, the whole book will be a surprise.) For there to be a story, there must be a conflict, and not only can story be generated by conflict, but humor as well. (Richard Peck has many truth and surprise patterns in his historical fiction.)

Your inner editor, which will be on vacation in Cancun for the month of November, would not have you risk humor. Please do not take any emails or calls from him. Adults are notorious for being afraid to be funny, because they become accustomed to things going right and don't want to risk falling flat on their faces in the humor department. Throw caution to the wind. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, and although not everyone thinks the same things are funny, we all can develop our funniness if we aren't afraid to try.

So put on your "funny glasses" and practice seeing the funny side of life. Humor and joy are good for you.

Disclaimer: All goofed up words which made it through spell-check are the result of a pancake injury.


  1. Seven days out and I still haven't registered. I know that I will at least give it the old college try. I have the backround in my head. Even the way to hurt my protagonist. And the ending as well. But the middle may cause me some trouble. However I will keep at it till the end of the month.

    Oh and I hope the finger tip wasn't in the pancakes since I was the one to eat them. Then again I have always thought you were quite a dish.