I did it. I wrote 50,012 words in 30 days to complete the National Novel Writing Month by writing a novel from scratch (or almost; I had some ideas and notes before starting). I wouldn’t call it a novel, not yet. I can’t remember all that went into the 103 pages. I wasn’t strung out on mescaline, cannabis and whiskey like Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, though you may think so if you read some of it. I may have turned dangerously inward like Jack Torrance in The Shining. Ask my wife. I’ll defend myself by claiming sleep deprivation and an excessive workload.
The good thing is that there are 50,012 words to work with and maybe turn into a readable and enjoyable novel found one day on Amazon. Or in a bookstore.
Here’s a brief synopsis and excerpt for your curiosity or pleasure or critique or observation as a wordy something or other.
Based in Buenos Aires, A Bright Idea is about Evan Donnoley, a young reporter and even younger husband. His wife, Rain, is pregnant and Evan has a bright idea. He’s going to make a documentary about having a baby, even against his wife’s protests. He films the filling out her belly – and that of his own as he shares her fetish for ice cream and anything chocolate or pickled. He films her waddle, the visits to the doctor and a room full of couples practicing Lamaze breathing. The documentary is proving to be rather comic and Evan thinks that maybe a fiction project is in store. But his life is getting more dramatic. This is 2001 and Argentina is collapsing and so too is his job, as witless bosses run the newswire into the ground even as he is about to become a father. Through it all, Evan discovers more than he bargained for with his camcorder and this will turn his life upside down in this tale about the joy and the hardship of growing up and having a baby.
I began the documentary with shots of my wife, to practice. To get the angles right, test the camcorder, long shots like what Wim Wenders did in “Paris, Texas” until Rain turned to me and said, “Will you turn that fucking thing off! Nobody wants to watch me eat breakfast.”
I needed a plan, a script. A bit of drama and tension to heat up my documentary, capture an audience. Capture me.
So the next morning I turned on my camcorder to watch Rain wake up.
There she is now, still asleep. I don’t dare touch her; she can be a grump in the morning, a cranky bitch until she’s had her cup of now-that-she’s-pregnant decaffeinated tea. Ah, now she’s waking up. Her eyes are opening. She’s stirring. Now she’s awake and looking at me.
“Oh no, not the camera again,” she said, burying her head and puffy eyes into the pillow.
“Hey, it’s reality TV.”
“Yeah, a big bother,” she said, her voice muffled by the pillow
Rain looked up at me again. “So what’s a woman got to do around here to get a cup of tea?”
“I’ll get you one in a minute,” I said. “But first, for the camera, any movements?”
“Not right now.”
I zoomed the camera in for a close up of her belly, which was still as thin as always. Only a minor mound could be seen, really.
Rain whipped off the bedcovers and turned and sat on the edge of the bed, her feet on the ground.
I followed her to the bathroom, the camera on her.
“What are you going to film me wee?”
“Well, no, but maybe you’ll have morning sickness.”
“Not got it, babe.”
“But the book says it can come anytime in the first trimester.”
“Not for me.”
“Come on, pretend. It’ll add a bit of drama to the documentary,” I said.
Rain shut the door and locked it and that got me to thinking about the direction of my documentary. The next step: the doctors.