NaNoWriMo Day 9: Billy Joel is my lifesaver

It’s been a pretty good writing day so far.  I was a little worried when I struggled to complete a transitional scene in the novel; I knew what was going to happen next, but I was stuck on how to get there.  Eventually, I just made up something stupid and completely nonsensical, but at least it got me to where I needed to go.  I’m sure I’ll have a chance to fix it in the editing stage.

In between writing sessions, I take a break to check my email, play with the cat, read a bit of news, stalk friends on Facebook, and check the featured forums on the NaNoWriMo website.  Normally, I just scan the first few posts, then return to the agony of wondering how to get to my next scene.  But today, my friends, I struck gold.

One of the featured posts today was Dirty Ways to 50k, a wealth of helpful hints from Nanos new and seasoned.  Some of them were familiar: do not ever use contractions, describe everything in glorious detail, use lots of creamy, finicky adjectives, and have plenty of dream sequences or flashbacks.  One that I had not yet thought of, though, was having a scene (or two, or seven) in which a character is singing out loud to the radio.  Song lyrics are great padders!

As a result, I chose to insert a scene where one of the characters is singing and dancing while cooking dinner, something I do all the time.  So, for no other reason than the fact that I was listening to it at the time I was reading through this thread, my character just sang and danced to all of Billy Joel’s Scenes from an Italian Restaurant without realizing that he was being watched.  It made my day knowing that adding song lyrics to something that probably would have been a maximum of three sentences bumped up my word count by about 530 with the lyrics alone.

Thanks to some strategically placed lyrics, I am now only behind by about 1,000 words, rather than the 3,000 I was this morning.  So, this character is now a music lover, and will probably break out in random songs in the shower, or who knows where else during the course of the novel.  The question now is, what shall he sing?  I’m sifting through my iTunes at the moment, looking for particularly long and wordy songs.  R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World As We Know It comes to mind.  Any other suggestions?

EDIT:  Oh.  My.  God.  I totally just had the best idea in the world, ever.  I just figured out a way to work Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant (a whopping 2,526 words) into my novel.  And the best part is, it isn’t just some random insertion.  It actually has something to do with the story!  50,000 words, here I come!!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. onefootinthedoor
    Nov 10, 2008 @ 19:17:52

    he knows you are watching him after all he is a innocent man


  2. chadhend
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 10:13:53

    Hahaha, go you! Maybe one of your characters will also be required to take the Pledge of Allegiance? 😉 Glad to hear you are getting that word count up.

    Thanks for your nice comment 🙂 Swedish snus is like chewing tobacco, but in a small, rectangular paper pouch that you put under your lip. Not too fancy…

    Ooooo… the Pledge of Allegiance is a good one! And I know exactly where I can put it. Thanks for the idea!
    Thanks for clearing up the snus mystery. I can see the appeal of inhaling burning tobacco through a straw, but not placing it directly under my lip. I’ll let you enjoy that for both of us.


  3. curlywurlygurly
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 21:43:55

    wow…i can’t believe that you’re participating in the nanowrimo! it seems so daunting. at least you’ve got some good music–my favorite billy joel songs are ‘vienna’ and ‘and so it goes’. 🙂

    Participating, yes. Most likely finishing, no. But it’s a good experience nonetheless.
    My favorite Billy Joel songs are “And So It Goes” and “Baby Grand” – not to mention his Fantasies & Delusions.


  4. mandythompson
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 13:18:08

    Acclimating myself to your blog. I’ve been meaning to get over here for a while now. 🙂 I’m enjoying how you think/create.

    Your pictures are amazing.
    Using someone else’s song: Maybe cheating! 😉
    I kid.
    Admiring you for fearlessly facing NaNoWriMo.

    Thanks for the compliments, Mandy! Glad you finally made your way over here. Hope you stop by regularly.


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