Monday, 3 December 2007

What Readers Say, What Writers Hear

NaNoWriMo is over. For some, like my dedicated and amazing friend Luisa Plaja, it was another successful year - she romped home with 51k words at 3am a day ahead of the deadline. But for others it ended a week early in a pool of self-hatred and mucus from a bad head cold, at only 30k. None of the 30 came easily, I must confess, for although I have been evangelical about the beauty of Nano and its ability to vanquish your Inner Editor, I overlooked one crucial factor in this year's effort:


I was writing it with my mother.

Disclaimer: my mother is funny, warm and hugely supportive. She is also one of the worst liars I have ever known. 

A week in, My Nano became one of those jokes you get spammed with every so often about 'What Men Say' and 'What Women Hear'. Eg. 'No, darling, you don't look fat in that,' becomes 'Not only do you look enormous, you are also stupid and a nag and I'm doing your best friend.' Ho ho. That kind of thing. It went a little something like this every time I handed over a chunk for Mum to read:

What She Said:
It's good. I like it.
What I Heard:
It's not nearly as good as I thought it would be. You are a disappointment. I've never really liked you.

What She Said:
It's getting a bit serious; I thought we were writing a comedy.
What I Heard:
You have always been a bit of a Sarah Bernhardt. Why do you take yourself so seriously? This is why I've always preferred my other children.

What She Said:
Just have a break from it. You're not well. We will finish it eventually, won't we?
What I Heard:
You have failed. Again. Now you have ruined my chances of becoming a bestselling novelist. You've always been selfish.

And so on . . . 

The point being, of course, that my Inner Editor is fed and clothed by my mum, so it had no intention of moving out for a month while I partied guilt-free. It's not that mums mean to do it, but there is a reason that I put some slap on and have a bit of a tidy up before she comes over.

The good news is that we might just have something in those 30k words, but me and my Inner Demons are having a bit of R&R before we get back on the Bucking Bronco that is: Writing A Novel With Another Person, Especially The Person Whose Approval You Most Seek.




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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooh, thanks for the lovely mention. I don't know about 'dedicated' or 'amazing' but there may indeed have been 'romping' involved. :)

What I Say:
Great post. You did brilliantly.

What I Mean:
This post was hilarious! Plus you did brilliantly, inner editor or no inner editor. Plus, what a difficult task! Respect.

Enjoy the R&R.

Luisa
x

LG said...

Here's another Nano failure but I'm a cheery failure as I limped along and finished at around the 25K mark, which is better than nothing, I spose.

Those Inner Editors need to take a big chill pill.

Glad to see this blog is up and running again. Have missed it! Lx

Nik's Blog said...

You tell those editor demon things to Leave You Alone.

Good to see you back.

Nik :)

Mum'sTheWord said...

Thanks you three! It's good to be back.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I've never attempted to write something with my mum, but I definitely know what you mean...

Nice to see you back again :)

60goingon16 said...

Loved your post, which made me smile, not least because my daughter and I also embarked (last year) on a joint novel for NaNoWriMo.

I think we managed 20K before the muse departed or life got in the way or we ran out of teabags. Or something.