Saturday, November 30, 2013

NNWM Results

Here it is, the end of National Novel Writing Month for 2013, closer to my goal with 13,000 words added to my draft novel, yet short of my expectations to write at least a thousand words a day. Face it, Les, you lack discipline to dedicate yourself to writing, all of writing, and nothing but writing. You get caught up in too many other things. Drat it! Oh, well, I have to say I think the many small changes made in sentence structure and plot have added to a better draft. I am studying a course from The Great Courses catalog entitled "Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft" by Professor Brooks Landon, University of Iowa.  UI is renown for their Master of Fine Arts program in Writing. I am learning a great deal about cumulative sentences, modifiers, phrases and syntax. Guess I slept through these jewels of wisdom during college English.

Participating in NNWM was an educational experience. It is helping propel me toward my goal of finishing my draft novel in 2014. Here is another section of the draft:

Mother was mean. She had become meaner since Daddy left. She gave Virginia old purses to play with, and then sent her into the soda fountain and hamburger places to get napkins and sugar packets which she hid in the purse. They would take the napkins home and use them for toilet paper. The paper was tiny but not as rough as the catalogs Mother kept by the toilet to wipe with. They used the sugar on oat meal.

Mother made her cut off all the lights at night, insisting they not waste electricity. They ate the same thing every day– oatmeal or cream-of-wheat for breakfast, cornbread or home-made bread (not that good store bought bread), powdered milk and eggs which she couldn’t stand, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, vegetables from the garden…there was no meat except when Mother sent EJ to get soup bones and made vegetable soup. Then there would be slivers of fatty meat. Grandma said they would kill a hog when it got cold but that was forever away. 

She wished Daddy would come home. Things would be better then. Maybe she could get a real haircut instead of having Aunt Tillie cut her hair there in the kitchen. She was tired of looking like someone put a bowl over her head and cut her hair evenly around that bowl, even though that is what Aunt Tillie did. Maybe he would buy her peddle-pushers and shoes that fit – more than one pair - and more dresses. Maybe she would have a different dress for each day of the week! Last year she wore one pair of shoes all year and alternated her three good dresses. At least this year she had shoes from Kathy. Mother wadded up newspaper and stuffed them into the toes so she could wear them. They would last a couple of years according to what Mother said. Two years wearing the same shoes? Virginia couldn’t imagine it.

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