So, it’s the second full week of November and I am wondering how the NaNos are doing out there. The ones trying to binge out over a thousand words a day on average to have a manuscript, or a good portion of one, by December. Is it flowing? Is it a disaster?
November is a really hard month for me to be able to do NaNo. I have never done it even though I am pretty sure I knew about it before I had a child. It is coming off all the nuttiness of Fall and then I start to get ready now for Christmas because I like having everything bought and wrapped long before it has to go under a tree. Occasionally cookies/Chex Mix get made as well. I wish NaNo was in February. By that time all the extras in my life have slowed to a dead stop…holidays, son’s sports, desire/ability to go outside consistently, all that. It’s not sandwiched between two major holidays in my home with one dotted in the middle like November is.
And I know that to do NaNo you can edit, or just do daily prompts, and last year I did a ten day writing course online where you wrote little blurbs and got feedback, and I really enjoyed that. But with being sick so much of October and the six Halloween events and his birthday that my son ended up attending, well, I made no effort to plan. No outlines made. I have two novels needing revision but this is not the month they will be pulled back out.
A lot of organizing and purging has been happening which is awesome, but it isn’t writing. A lot of Netflix has also been happening because of being sick and two books I read coming out as miniseries, but that one isn’t awesome. I’m not getting the reading done that I could be.
I decided though in honor of NaNoWriMo I will review a classic NaNo creation. One that others claim is the reason we set ourselves up for this in the first place:
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Water for Elephants, interestingly, is also a NaNo winner, and probably more famous than The Night Circus. Interesting they both have to do with a traveling circus in times past. It’s too difficult in modern times, in my opinion, to just run off and join the circus. It sounds like you’d have to pay a lot of ATM fees for rarely being near your bank. But when times were different, it was a place where someone with few other prospects could find a life, or escape a life they weren’t looking forward to.
Morgenstern’s circus is a magical playground for two magicians, fated to battle one another to the death through creating spectacles. They are unknowingly committed as young children and trained. Not only the magicians but also all the performers are wrapped up in the spectacle, some unaware that they are a part of this illusionist competition. The only ones who age are the twins born on opening night. Otherwise no one is born or dies, like being trapped in amber while they travel the world and perform as part of a game. The magicians find each other and have to contend with the idea that one of them has to die for the competition to be considered over.
This book reminded me of a major reason that I think I love magic books as much as I do. Magic is inherently academic. You spend your time learning the basics through reading, notes, and lectures, you have to give demonstrations, you can spend your whole life holed up in a small space just reading and reading and experimenting and digging for whatever magical truth or power source you’re looking for. These magicians compete but not without tons of tutelage and study. Sometimes I miss academia. Other times I like casting my own magic from my reading, demonstrations, practice and tutelage. I like feeling at times like I actually have an effect on the world.
I first read this book around the time I got married and I felt it needed to be revisited, as I didn’t remember a lot because of all the wedding stuff going on. It was a good transition from my magic/scary reads to the rest of the variety I enjoy. I hadn’t remembered exactly the ending from the first time and I won’t spoil it now for everyone, but it was decent. I remember reading it on the beach and letting my new husband’s dog (now gone from us) paddle around in the lake while my husband watched football with the guys who had come out to be in our wedding. But I needed to read it again to remember the magic of the black and white circus, the performers, the followers, the boy who runs away with them. I also listened to it this time, as a friend of mine says that she felt it was creepy on audio. I wasn’t sure that I felt it was creepy, but I liked having the accents of the characters to listen to to make them seem more real. It’s always one of my favorite parts of audiobooks.
NaNoWriMo likely won’t make me Sara Gruen or Erin Morgenstern or Marissa Meyer (I haven’t read her series yet, it’s taking me forever to get to) but end of the year planning and posts are in progress.
Are you doing NaNo? How is it going?