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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Going the distance

1st December 2016, I posted a congratulatory note for the valiant band who had emerged from the thirty day maelstrom of NaNoWriMo. Successful or not, maybe the truth is that it doesn't matter.
You, whoever you are, were there.

More than I can say for myself, I gave it a miss this year. I stayed a while at Camp NaNoWriMo back in April but skipped the November bash. I may have been absent, but that didn't keep it out of mind for the duration.

After the post had been published I sat and thought about the 1988 film DOA starring Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan and Charlotte Rampling. A crime thriller with a literary twist. 

Professor Dexter Cornell wakes up after a night of heavy drinking feeling unwell and after seeking medical help discovers he has been poisoned. He turns up at the Police station to report a murder, his own. 

The plot unfolds as Cornell tracks back over the previous night. where inspired by a depressing Christmas, divorce papers and the untimely death of a promising student who jumps from the building outside his office,  and accompanied by an admiring student, Sydney Fuller (Meg Ryan) he gets drunk, and wakes up poisoned.

The apparent suicide is the key to the story, the death of  the author of a brilliant work coveted by Cornell's friend, Hal Petersen (Robert Knepper) who has decided to kill anyone who has read the work allowing him to take the credit. Cornell is targeted because Peterson believes he has read it.

Cornell solves the crime and kills Petersen in a scuffle.  Resigned to his fate he heads for the Police station to video tape his confession.

So what has any of this to do with NaNoWriMo?

When Cornell challenges Petersen about the authorship of the work and his plan to take the credit for another writer's creation he throws his anger at the murderer. 

Petersen may take the credit and profit by his actions, but he will lack the authenticity to fully own what he has claimed. His may be the name on the title page, but he will never know what it feels like to put the work in, to create it from scratch and see the job through to the end. 

That's the connection. NaNoWriMo is about the experience; of creating from scratch and doing the time. Working against a deadline and unfolding the story.

it's worth saying again, well done to you all.

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