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National Novel Writing Month 2009 Results

I'm baaaack!...

I won!....nothing really.

On November 1st, 170,001 people (including me) set out in friendly competition to write a 50,000 word novel in less than 30 days for National Novel Writing Month. I entered because I always wondered if I had a novel in me. Today, I entered in the last few hundred words of my novel bringing me up over that magical 50,000 word mark. I'm not going to say it was particularly tough, but it did require some discipline. I'm glad it's over. Tonight, I am going out to celebrate! (which means: "eat chinese food buffet then get drunk") But for now, I post for you below an excerpt from the end of my terrible, horrible novel - entitled "eight". You can use this excerpt as a sleep-aid or as an object to ridicule me with - whatever. It's all good.

What's next for me? Well, first I am going to go back through the novel and cut out all of the stuff that would make you probably call the cops on me if you read it. "I think Steph's boss at work is in mortal danger!" Then I am going to spellcheck and edit for a couple of months. Then I am going to have just two copies of the book printed. One will go on my bookshelf, right in between my Penthouse autographed by Ashlyn Gere and my copy of Never Cry Wolf autographed by Margaret Atwood. The other copy I will raffle off to one (un?)lucky commenter. How much is a raffle ticket? Nothing. Just visit my site and leave a comment below this post. It don't have to be flattering; I would actually prefer brutal honesty - I just want to know if the excerpt below is interesting or not. If you are already on my mailing list (meaning you got this post via email) you don't even have to leave your email. Just leave your name and a comment and in February, the lovely Elllie will draw single name for half off the print run of the hot new novel - "eight."

This will be the very definition of limited edition folks, don't miss out on the opportunity.

The inspiration for the excerpt that follows came from my son, Nik - age 6. Not too long ago, we gave him a camcorder and let him film whatver he wanted for a day. Together with his friend Ryan, they came up with the idea of "The Boring Show." Essentially, they simply stood in front of the camera and quietly ate a cookie for 5 minutes. There was no dialogue. They kept their facial expression to a minimum. It was fascinating! I've wondered since, if I wrote something and tried to make it as boring as Nik and Ryan's Boring Show, would it somehow become perversely interesting?

I sat in my chair and ate a cookie. My mind was blank. As I ate, a couple of crumbs collected at the side of my mouth where the top lip meets the bottom lip. These crumbs would not end up in my mouth, nor were they going to fall on the floor. These crumbs were not going anywhere.

"How is the cookie?" asked Jane, my wife.

"Good." I said. I wasn't lying either. It was a good cookie.

I sort of absentmindedly looked down at what was left of the cookie in my hand. It was a plain cookie. I mean, it was a chocolate chip cookie but it came from a cheap bag of some generic brand of cookie so it had no chocolate chips at all. Other cookies in the bag may have some chocolate chips on them, but I guess the manufacturing process for these generic brands is so lax that entire cookies make it through the system without picking up a single chip. Like this plain cookie with no chocolate chips.

I sighed. Jane asked, "Can I have a bite?" but I was putting the last piece in my mouth just as she asked it, so I shook my head and mumbled "No." I then took another cookie out of the bag.

I think this one had chocolate chips. I didn't look because I was really tired at that moment, but I was pretty sure I could feel some chocolate chips with my fingertips. I would know for sure in a minute just as soon as I finished chewing and swallowed the cookie in my mouth and took a bite from this new cookie. Then I would know for sure.

It was taking a long time to finish this bite of cookie. My mouth was pretty dry from the two previous bites of cookie. I wondered if maybe that was the purpose of chocolate chips in cookies, to lubricate the mouth orifice so as to facilitate the swallowing of the cookie. And because the cookie in my mouth had no chocolate chips, that was maybe why I was finding it so dry and hard to finish. That then, would be the purpose of the chips, to act as a lubricant, and the taste of the chips would be the benefit. Not that this cookie was the dryest cookie I have ever eaten, that award would go to a shortbread cookie I had several years ago. Shortbread cookies have lots of cream of tartar in them and I think that dries the heck out of you mouth, like if you ate a spoonful of alum or something. Though alum would kill you I'm pretty sure.

This chocolate chip cookie was nothing like that old shortbread cookie from several years ago. I sighed again.

"Does your cookie make you sad?" asked Jane.

I shook my head. "It's just a cookie" I said.

"Yeah." said Jane. "Can I have a bite of the cookie in your hand?"

"Sure." I said, and I gave her the cookie in my hand. "Hey, does it have any chocolate chips?" I asked.

"I think I see a couple of chips here." she said. I sighed and rubbed my finger and thumb together on the hand that had just been holding the new cookie. Sure enough, it was well lubricated with melted chocolate. Jane took a bite and gave me back the cookie.

Finally, I was finishing chewing the last bite of the chip-less cookie. I swallowed it noiselessly. After a moment of waiting for my saliva supplies to regenerate, I took a bite of this new chipped cookie. The difference was obvious.

"You have a couple of crumbs stuck to the side of you mouth," said Jane. "You know, where your top lips connects to your bottom lip."

She sighed, then paused, chewing and enjoying her bite of cookie no doubt. She said, "Would you like me to get it?"

"What?" I said "The crumbs?"

Jane said, "Yes."

I said, "No, it's OK. I've got it." And I wiped the crumbs from the side of my mouth. You know the spot I am talking about.

All of a sudden, the cookie bag fell over. It was very exciting.

"That was exciting." said Jane.

"Mmm mm." I said. Though this new cookie had far better lubricating properties than the previous one, it was still much drier than say, a cup of oil. But I had to agree, the bag falling over in the quiet room was very exciting, even though no cookies fell out of the bag.

"That was a close one." said Jane. I nodded, picked up the bag, and motioned to her in the universal gesture of cookie-offering - because my mouth was still full of cookie. I couldn't really talk if I didn't want more crumbs to collect at the side of my mouth, or worse, to fall on the carpet.

She shook her head. "No thanks." she said. So I closed the bag securely and stood it back up on the table.

National Novel Writing Month 2009 Results
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