Guest writer Martin Kelly races toward the NaNoWriMo deadline – will he get to 50,000 words by November 30?

This is the third NaNoWriMo writing diary from Martin.  You may also want to read part 1 and part 2.

11/20 Chapter 23 and 24. I was flying home today. Writing on an airplane is difficult. The guy in front of me was reclined, and I am kind of heavy, so the laptop screen was not at a good angle. I spent most of my hour on the ground in Chicago correcting typing errors from three hours on the air.

In the story, the main character has learned to do something that is very hard for men, he is asking for help. We will have to see how well he accepts the help. At this point, the idea of having him watch like a little kid actually seems quite natural. His mother in law is being nice, on orders from her daughter and husband. The main character is doing his best to be nice to her as well. He of course does not know she is his Nemesis. They are having Thanksgiving. He is complimenting her cooking at every opportunity, and he honestly means it. This is her weak spot, and it is having an effect. She can’t help but enjoy being told how good of a cook she is. His wife also tells her mother that he seems ok with having kids now, that is just one more step to making her like him.

The day following Thanksgiving, black Friday, all of the female characters head off to the city to shop, in this case it is Saint Louis. The main character meets up with his childhood friend. This is a development chapter where you get to learn more about how he grew up. Several of the truths about him, his father and his mother are debunked. He breaks down and empties is heart to his friend; all of his fears, his concerns and what has happened to him. The friend does not believe at first but their common background pulls them together.

11/21 Chapters 25 and 26. I hit 40,000 words today. It is good to be home, but I had to plan my writing time. Both chapters are rather short. More development and a return of the religious men. I am attempting to get the people who are trying to help the main character all working together. With the men it is easy, mostly because I am a man, and with men, good food and a little mutual razzing results in cooperation. I do not know how I am going to incorporate the women. His wife is going to be supportive separate from the men. She understands more than he does that a marriage is a partnership. I have developed her into the smartest person in the book.

11/22 Chapter 27. Writing on Sunday again, just to keep going. I am so close to the NaNoWriMo goal that I don’t want to stop. I also think I can actually finish this book, with a conclusion! I dreamed up a final scene, now I just have to get there. Right now, the women have returned and the best friends are expecting their first child. This is a good nudge for the main character towards the responsibility of fatherhood. Now he just has to show his wife that he has ‘changed’ enough to take it on. Another short chapter. I may have to reorganize the chapters to make them flow better, but that can wait. I still haven’t had anyone else review it yet, I am kind of nervous about that. My wife will be the first with Kosmo having the second look, then it should be ready for the Casually Observing community.

11/23 Chapter 28. Lots going on at home to get in the way of writing. The eldest son is back from college for the break and in laws are coming in for the holiday as well. This is my family, not the story. Matching up the time line to real life has helped but can be confusing in a blog. Back to the story. The main character and his wife have a day alone. Some more revelations about their childhood. The main character has always had a learning disability, specifically reading. In school, even though she was younger than him, she had been assigned as his ready buddy, to help him out.

I included a touching scene where she gets to reenact helping him as he tries to share her love of reading. He tries to get her to restart her dream of going to college, more than the community college effort that she is in. Currently she is trying to get basic office skills to have a part time job, her dream had been to become a veterinarian. She is reluctant, mostly because of cost and because he is putting forth too many things for her to hold on to at one time. He has suggested in the last couple of chapters that they get her a new car, that they have children and that she go back to college for her dream. She promises to think about it, then she talks him into taking a course at the community college. It is a farm management course that will be good for him, but he is uncertain, he is not exactly college material.

11/24 Chapter 29. The main character has to have his checkups scheduled back in chapter 4. He heads into town with his wife. They do some things at the community college before he sees the dentist. His teeth are fine now. I ended the chapter with them at lunch, before he sees his family doctor. His wife is working all of the things she has promised to do, looking into college for the vet degree and checking on the feasibility of getting a new car, or at least a car that is new to them. I allude to her car being on its last legs several times in this chapter. I don’t know what I am going to do in the next chapter yet. He has to see his family doctor and go over his injuries and the affects. His memory problem will have to be discussed eventually and this may be the right place. Oh well, I will see tomorrow.

11/25 Chapters 30 and 31. My step mother in law is in town. We don’t get along very well so I have been retreating to my room, leaving my kids to deal with her. On the bright side, I did get a lot of writing done. In chapter 30, all is good for the main character. I used the family doctor to fill in a lot of his family history both for him and the reader. His dad wasn’t really a drunk, he had stress and medical issues that drove him away from his wife out of shame. I have tried to temper the character of his mother as well. She isn’t as mean as I portrayed her at the beginning, she had a rough time and her youngest son was disappointing her.

Chapter 31 everything goes down hill for the hero. His old drinking buddies show up and take him into town. He ends up at the same bar that he always goes too. The bar maid is helpful, but assures him that they had not fooled around. She lets him know that he is (was) a jerk and should go back to his wife. Without explaining why, he asks for her help escaping from the guys. The only person he knows to call is his father in law. Although the father in law does come to get him, thing do not go well. The hero is seriously worried about getting his ass kicked by this man. To avoid both a beating and his wife he asks to be turned over to the sheriff, expecting to spend at least the night in jail for going to a bar after being found responsible in a drunk driving accident.

11/26 Chapters 32 and 33. The relatives are still in town, so more writing. I have passed the 50,000 word mark. NaNoWriMo has declared me a winner. You get icons to put on your email, facebook and myspace. You also get a nice certificate to download. I am going to try to figure out how to include that certificate in my final publication.

In the story, the sheriff’s deputy, who just happens to know the hero, and the father in law figure out how to keep the ‘friends’ away. The hero is an idiot, but that can be overcome. He fesses up to his father in law about not knowing who these friends were, then spills his guts on the whole memory thing. The father in law believes him and takes him home, but makes a side trip to get grain for the animals as an excuse for running into town and the late return to their respective farms

11/27 Chapters 34 and 35. More good writing. After spending a guilt filled night lying next to his wife, our hero starts confessing to her. His doctor told him back in chapter 30 that the best way to recover was to include his wife and not have secrets. He finally breaks down and follows that advice. He also confesses to the sheriff’s deputy, but he doesn’t come completely clean. He does not admit to his wife, or anyone else, that he doesn’t remember her.

Chapter 35 is a confrontation with the worst of the drinking buddies. An almost fight occurs that is broken up by the resourceful, and armed wife. She insists on taking him to the hospital, just in case he had another head injury. This involves her brother, since he has to come over to take care of the farm. More confessions to include the mother in law and another confrontation with the bad friend, this time in court. Trusting his wife is the best thing our hero has done so far. I told you in an earlier blog, he is an idiot, but that can be helped.

11/28 Chapters 36 and 37. Some of my relatives are leaving, so this might be my last double chapter night for a while. The story is building up to Christmas. The hero gets his wife a puppy, and convinces her to chase her dream of becoming a vet. Just because I really didn’t like the character, I had the bad friend get hurt in a bar fight. Probably not necessary for the story, but felt good.

11/29 Chapter 38. All my visitors are gone. Lots of cleaning, not much writing. Got several pep talk emails from NaNoWriMo. I really haven’t used them very much, I just participated in the word count challenge and got the reward. I think it was me not doing much, not them. They seem like really nice people who want to help. The write ins could be a lot of fun if I had the time.

In the story, one of the other drinking buddies tries to straighten out his life. He is heading out of town to pursue his dreams and tells the hero, thanking him for standing up to the bully that they use to drink with. The hero also decides to try to better himself by taking an extension class at the community college, to be a better farmer. For the first time, significant time passes, well a couple of months, instead of a day by day account.

11/30 NaNoWriMo is officially over. I already made the word count several days ago, to the finish is sort of an anti climax for me. I added to chapter 38 and started chapter 39. I wanted to show a growth in the two main characters’ love lives as well as growth on a personal level. The main character has regained his strength and his wife notices his physique. He also uses his new knowledge to actually work his own farm, not well of course, but still his own sweat and effort. I think I have a good ending planned. I want to finish this book before Christmas. It is a goal that is within reach. Probably six more chapters to get there, then lots of editing. If Kosmo will let me, I will post the book as a Christmas present to the Casually Observing community.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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