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Mission Semi-Impossible: 14 days, 28000 words, One Finished, Really Bad Draft of a Novel

Categories: This Writer's Life.
Hello friends.

I have done some things in my life. Accomplished goals, questioned authority, set up Ikea bookshelves with minimal help from the directions. You know, things. But, now, over the next two weeks, I’m attempting to take on the most formidable challenge of my career. After several hours of negotiations and several empty, yet emphatic, promises, I managed to convince my father to allow me to hole up in his San Diego home with the singular purpose of finishing a draft of my novel.

The problem, of course, aside from actually having to do it, is that I only have two weeks to get it done, mostly because I need to go back to Boston and make money to pay off the Nesting Doll debts I incurred in Prague but also because my father can’t quite imagine a positive scenario involving myself and him in the same place for more than three days.

“And besides,” he said, during our talk. “I’ve never seen you do anything out here other than sit in the hot tub reading Teen Vogue.”

Fair point, father. But, alas, that was the old, unfocused Kevin, the Kevin who hadn’t seen six million stray cats eating Turkish Delights in Istanbul, the Kevin who didn’t know how to say, “If it pleases the vendor, I’m perfectly happy without butter and mayonaise on my fried cheese sandwich” in Czech, the Kevin who wasn’t perpetually startled whenever his cell phone vibrated.

The Kevin who didn’t refer to himself in third person.

And so now, without any further adieu, I encourage you to join me on my quest. 2,000 words a day. 14 days. 28,000 more words. 72 run-on sentences. 8 jumping conflicts. 32 pages of dream sequence. 4 empty bottles of grenadine. It’s going to be simultaneously terrible, awesome, alarming and inspring. So–for the next 14 days– I’m going to be keeping a daily journal of my thoughts, ideas, fantasies, myths, homespun sayings, and progress during what I’m calling, “the push to finish a terrible incoherent draft of a novel” or “Mission Semi-Impossible: SoCal Edition”.

I’d like to take this opportunity to pre-emptively apologize for whatever I write in the next two weeks. And feel free to drop lines of encouragment, advice, insults, questions, or profane haiku’s whenever you want. Chances are good I’ll be on the computer. Crying.

Don’t Stop Believing,

KA

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11 Responses to Mission Semi-Impossible: 14 days, 28000 words, One Finished, Really Bad Draft of a Novel

  1. Samantha says:

    Firstly, what’s Laguna Beach??? I know, I know – these are the important things a writer needs to know but we clearly don’t have that show in Australia. Looks kinda like Dawson’s Creek with sand… Okay trailing off now.
    I would set goals for writing but don’t see the sense in facing failure every week! ;) Let me know how much coffee a person needs to do 28,000 words in two weeks and I’ll try it…
    Goodluck

  2. Cindy says:

    Can do it! Can do it! Can do it!

    Was your invitation a challenge?

  3. del says:

    By daily journal did you mean every third or so daily journal?

    Just waiting for more hilarity.

    Keep your eye on the prize,
    Del

  4. Of course, everyone knows Southern California is the PERFECT place to go to escape distraction.
    Go Kev-O-Wrimo!
    -maria

  5. Pat Marinelli says:

    Okay, Kevin, here are some tips from a NaNoWriMo addict.

    · Know who your characters are and what they want.
    · Make sure you have a good idea where you are going with the plot.
    · Don’t stop for research. Make a note in all caps on what you need and do it later.
    · Restaurant Menus are a plus, not for you but for spelling all unusual words when characters are ordering food.
    · A phone book is good for names to give to secondary and minor characters. Unless you write something like “Ms. Front Desk Receptionist” or “Chief of Police, my boss,” which do raise your word count.
    · If Dad isn’t taking care of the food, a coffee pot, crock pot, and small fridge are necessary. At the very least you’ll need pop-top cans of food and beverages.
    · When taking a break from the keyboard, make sure you keep the story rolling in head.

    Good luck. And if you need recipes for the crock pot, let me know.

    Pat Marin

  6. Good luck Kevin. I think it is good that you have notified all your biggest fans what you are doing. For one, it gives you accountability. For two, it really sucks when you hole up for two weeks, come out looking all pasty and caffeine buzzed, and your friends say, "why do you look like shit?" And you say, "I’ve been writing 2,000 words a day in San Diego for 14 straight days." And they either retort, "Only 2,000?" Or, "Gosh, I didn’t even notice you were gone." We’re here for you brother.

  7. Dori says:

    I have to agree with Morgan, having something to look forward to at the end of the ordeal would probably be helpful. Granted, all those pages of first draft tripe – er, I mean, writing, is a reward in an of itself. However, something more substantial would probably work better.

    Good luck, it’s doable, I’ve done it before, but I pity your poor hands, head, back, neck, pretty much your entire body.

  8. Jacqui says:

    Hey Kevin, I look forward to hearing how the writing process goes for you. Think of it as NANOWRIMO in two weeks.

  9. Trina says:

    A worthy goal, Master Kevin. I do hope your Dad doesn’t disturb the process too much with his sarcastic and (usually true?) remarks. Or perhaps feelings of rebellion are inspiration?
    I hear a lot of writers have success with this method – be sure to tell us if it worked for you…

  10. Kevin Alexander says:

    Morgan, the real reason for the Laguna Beach pic is the admittedly subtle SoCal theme… and because, um, I mean I don’t want to make a big thing out of this but what was up with Kristin being such a ho in Mexico during their spring break trip? Didn’t she know how mad Stephen would get??!? I know it was three years ago, but f**k. I’m still upset.

    And i have no plans to reward myself post finishing this draft. Like the Amish, I believe that work and films featuring Kevin Costner are their own reward.

    So actually, maybe I’ll buy Waterworld.

  11. I would ask why you have a picture of the cast of Laguna Beach although you didn’t speak a word of it in your entry, but I have a feeling that instead of reading Teen Vogue, you’ll be watching Laguna Beach. That’s not to say I don’t have faith in you, it’s just…you know…an addicting show. Not as addicting as Scrubs though.

    Are you going to reward yourself with anything at the end of this? Because that might help you get through the next 14 days. Dreaming of what you’ll get once you complete your goal. Or it may just heavily distract you. But either way, good luck!

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