I’m done with National Novel Writing Month. I crossed the 50,000 word mark early this week, and have taken a break from writing. I will go back to finish the story in a few weeks, but for now, I am enjoying not staring at my computer screen all day long. The last two weeks of the contest were difficult for me, but I managed to persevere despite it all. I will post one last excerpt tomorrow, but for now I thought I would share the foreword, acknowledgements and dedication for this project.
Certain T began with an idea and an image, and initially the two were completely unrelated from each other. The idea, or rather ideas, were to cover topics such as “the next steps” in a relationship and surrogacy of children. I was not sure how it was going to pan out initially. I was in a relationship when the planning for this novel had begun last spring, but by the time fall came around and it was time to seriously commit to the ideas and characters, and then write it, I was single. The “next step” in this case for me, was choosing to take the single path once again. I wrestled with how I would portray the next steps on the page. I wanted to do it in a way that was realistic, but not in a way that would be too close to home for me, or too embittered. I think I did okay in balancing all of that.
The image though, the image was something I had decided on very early on. I had this image in my head of a bearded man who was over six feet tall, probably about two hundred and fifty pounds, and dressed up as a woman. Was not a drag queen, but rather a crossdresser. In the female identity, her name would be Pearl O’Wysdom, and she would provide life advice, or serve the tea (truth) to those who were willing to pay for that advice. Not as a life coach in the traditional sense. No, she would be serving up sass and straight-up life advice in a bar, on gay night. Pearl was born, and from there, a way for me to start connecting the dots on the characters and their stories.
I returned to characters I had previously written back in 2011 for National Novel Writing Month. They still had some story left in them, and in the case of Cooper, has sort of unofficially become the representation of who I am in my thirties. Cooper is more sure of himself than the last time I wrote about him, but that does not mean he is completely put together. He has his flaws, and he is still learning, just as I am still learning.
A brand new character stood out as one of my favorites. Bradley has got a great internal struggle that he is trying find a suitable outlet for in the pages of the novel. He is perhaps the character that goes through the most, and when I had originally developed him for this novel, it was with the idea that he would just be a bit part that served another story. Lo and behold, I start writing him, really enjoy writing him and his part begins to expand from there.
Certain T in the end, was a novel I largely pulled together from seemingly disparate parts adn put together into a whole. It is not quite a mish-mash, but the sums of the parts somehow miraculously made a whole.
As always, there is always a number of people to acknowledge throughout National Novel Writing Month. Nine years later, it astounds me the number of people who encourage, influence and just generally keep me going through this contest. Everyone has had a significant contribution, even if I did the bulk of the work, so to speak, in the past month.
To my clients, thank you eternally for your patience, your support, and your cheerleading this past month. I know I have been a bit distracted, but your sessions gave me a much needed forced break from writing, and it always seemed to be at times when I really needed a break. Special mention to those clients who asked how I was doing, not just writing, but as a writer who was juggling a day-time career, a part-time career and writing a novel in a month (what was I actually thinking this year?). Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you to Ali. As a first time National Novel Writing Month participant, I had the opportunity to truly mentor a growing writer, and that in turn helped reignite my passion for writing. I hope this is just the first of many competition years for you.
Thank you to Mandi, another incredibly talented writer who I thoroughly love talking about writing to. Your insights are worth their weight in gold, but more importantly your support and passion for the art of writing is something I have never personally known in another person before.
Thank you to Alex for providing some key critiques as I wrote. I may not have implemented everything you said while I was writing, but rest assured I make notes of what you say for further reference, and I will be coming back to it for the revision process.
To my parents and my brother, Andrew, who still think I’m batshit crazy nine years later for doing a contest like this, but especially for coming back to it every year, but thank you especially for not harping at me if I did not return phonecalls or text messages right away.
Thank you to everyone who influenced a character, a plot, or even just a snippet of dialogue. You do not know who you are, and that is intention (I wish not to be sued in some cases), but know that contributions of all kinds and sizes is what helps me the most when it comes time to approach the keyboard.
To Mandi. The universe works in mysterious ways. It is not always fair, just, or even kind, but your passion for writing is only exceeded by your passion for life.