Some people have staggered starts to Nano; that is, they’re all ready to go and… stagger.
Why? Because the Inner Critic is also prepared and let’s rip as soon as you type the first, painful word.
The best thing is to get rid of the bitch and since she’s leaning over your shoulder, watching you type, it’s easy to get the two really big professional bookends… oh, you don’t know them? They are Sven and Oleg, Swedes, you understand, oiled muscles, tanned, tall, blond and well, you get the idea…. Mmmm… Sven…
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. The Inner Critic. Sven and Oleg pick the whiney-ass up.
“You loser,” she says, struggling against strong arms, little legs running in mid-air, “you’ll never get this done!” She looks to the left with lust. “Are you Sven?” Then back. “You never do it right.” And looks to the right. “You must be Oleg.”
The boys stand her in a nicely aged wooden box, circled with time-darkened iron bands. “I’m telling you, you’ll be dangling participles in no time without me! And you’ll but up on charges of adverb abuse. And don’t get me started on commas or semi-colons! You’re useless, you hear me? Useless”
Sven and Oleg raise identical eyebrows for permission to shut her in. Damn, they are fine looking bookends.
Where was I? Oh, yes. The Inner Critic. She’s still struggling, still ranting about 50,000 words being too much, and you, not good enough to make 10.
“Lock her up, boys.”
She’s shoved down and Oleg closes the box, presses down with one tanned hand, posed to display bulging muscles while Sven squats down, hooks the padlock, closes it with a snick. The Inner Critic can still be heard, but she not begging to be released and that she’ll behave, oh, no, it’s all condemnation and derision.
“Take her away. Far, far away.”
The boys grin. Dimples appear as they lift the box between them and wander away.
The Inner Editor watches from your other shoulder and attracts your attention by clearing his throat.
“Here, a plane ticket.” You hold up the ticket with pictures of magnolia blossoms, aquamarine sea and white sugar sand. “30 days. Enjoy yourself.”
He grabs the ticket and runs to pack his budgie smugglers. But he’ll be back by the end of the month. Alaskan Air ran out of ticket covers and borrowed some from Fiji Air.
As for the Inner Critic, it’s your choice to have her back or get Sven and Oleg to dump her into a volcano.
And now you’re ready. Silence, blessed silence waiting to be filled with music or nothing at all. The characters are waiting, conversations ready to be had, words ready to bring imagination to life.
Touch the keyboard and bring your story out into the light.
Nano isn’t about the perfection of sentence construction, the dynamics of a well-written action seen, or the cleverness of dialogue. It’s about getting the words down, more than 50,000 if you can manage it.
It’s writing the bones of the work, the infrastructure. And when December 1 comes around, you can be sure you have the solid foundation of a great book, your book.
Oh, boy. Sven and Oleg are back and don’t they look handsome?