Some weird things have already happened with this years NaNoWriMo novel. The first thing was that it started to come out in first person although I had intended it to be in third. Yes, I know this makes it sound as if the novel writes itself and I have no control of it. I quite like this idea in some ways as it tends to absolve the author from responsibility for the finished product. That’s only true up to a point though. Unfortunately I still retain conscious control over characters’ names. These are often extremely difficult, especially when a new character appears from nowhere and has the audacity to expect a name. I solved this in chapter 2, which I wrote yesterday, by refusing to give two interlopers names at all. However it did get rather clumsy referring to one of them as ‘the man I already knew’ and the other one as ‘the other one’, so I may have to give in and resort to the dictionary of baby names at some later stage.
But the weirdest thing that has happened is that I can see the shape of another story which I suppose I should have written before embarking on this one, if only I had known it was there. The only way I can think of to explain this is to say that it’s like that thing astronomers sometimes do, when they extrapolate that there’s another planet there without actually seeing it, by working out that the sun’s rays are being blocked by or refracted round something invisible. I only have a very hazy idea of what I’m talking about here, but I can certainly envisage something large and invisible lurking behind the novel I’m working on. Whether it will ever become visible and how scary that experience will be, I just have to wait and see.
Other things are going on much as they always do. I have to speak at a conference on Monday. I’ve had to buy a back-up conference outfit because I am worried that the first one no longer fits me. I spent Friday morning creating name labels for myself and sticking them on the back of generic departmental business cards because the individual ones haven’t arrived yet. I will almost certainly forget to give them to anyone. Later in the week, the car has to go for its MOT test, usually a nerve-racking and expensive occasion. On the same day, we will be receiving some extra furniture which may not fit into the house. The preparations for my theatre group pantomime are proceeding more or less as expected: in other words, all is calm for now, but we know there will be a horrendous rush involved at some point later on. My aim in life is to postpone this until after the end of November.