Anybody out there doing NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month–or something like that)? Oh, wait. That’s right. For you this is NaNoEdYear. Yes, it is. Remember, before midnight on Halloween, you are going to have a finished novel. Yes, you are.
Okay, here’s the thing. Sure, January 1st was the start of the New Year. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I’m calling March 1st the start of the Year of Your Novel. Look, January 1st is arbitrary if you think about it, and there are plenty of other ways to view a year–a school year and a Chinese New Year, for example. So, Happy New Novel Year to you. Now I’m telling you your novel’s resolutions (because you’ve foolishly given me your email address)–
Your characters will be seduced.
Your plot will face dangers untold and hardships unnumbered (gold star to anyone who catches the allusion there).
Your scenes will lose unnecessary adjectives and adverbs and become trim and strong (please don’t point out the contradiction in that sentence).
Your settings will always let us know where and when we are.
Your dialogue will speak the truth and lie brilliantly.
Your action will leave us wanting more.
Your novel will make an entrance when it comes into a room (is it ready for its close-up?).
Your novel will leave at just the right moment (not before the action really starts or after the best guests have gone home).
This list is more realistic than the list you’ve probably forgotten from that other New Year’s Day back in, when was that? Oh, yeah, January.
But the most important resolution is this–your novel will be done. Did I say that already? Yes, I did. And I’m going to remind you of this fact many times over until you know it’s true. In fact, I suggest you tape this particular resolution on your computer or your forehead. You are going to finish. You are. It is your mantra. It is your life. Don’t make me take hostages!