July 24, 2018


        Did you think the World Cup was the competition of the season?  Oh no; it’s happening right here in the Nydam household where two authors are in a thrill-packed race to the breathtaking finish.  Who will complete a draft first and claim the glory and the fabulous prize?
        Before school let out in the spring my daughter T challenged me to a writing duel: which of us can complete a first draft of a novel over the summer?  If she wins, we have to take the family to her favorite restaurant for dinner (a win for all of us!)  If I win?… Her original proposal was that if I win we have to take the family to her favorite restaurant for dinner.  She’s no fool.  I think we left it that if I win I get the glory and satisfaction of having a completed draft of the Work in Progress that has recently been in frustratingly little progress.  And maybe a family dinner somewhere of my choosing.
        As I alluded, I already had a Work in Progress (three, in fact) before the summer started.  So I had a big head start going into this contest.  On the other hand, we agreed that T could complete a much shorter work and still have it count.  Actually, I’d be more than happy to let her count a solidly-crafted short story for the win, but she’s determined that only a novel will do.  I tell her that this is like trying to run a marathon without ever having completed a 5k, but she will hear none of it.  So, school let out, the summer vacation began, “Ladies, start your computer engines,” and Game On!
        I wish I could tell you about the writing thrills that followed.  How I took the early lead by diving back into my story (I’ve chosen to concentrate on the one about a changeling), but T quickly came from behind with an exciting outline.  How my chapters rolled forth in mighty waves, while her emerging characters made a furious full-court press, and from there it was frenzied typing all the way down the straightaway, neck and neck, neither giving quarter in our feverish pace…  But alas, I’m afraid it’s been a snail’s pace flop.  T has come up with several ideas, only to discard them.  Her most recent was a murder mystery, but I think she may have abandoned that one, too, and the sad fact is that she's got an awful lot of summer work for school.  I had a few days of progress, but then it was interrupted by my two weeks of teaching, and there will be another three weeks gone in various travel over the remainder of the summer.  So if I really want to get any work done, I’d better knuckle down right now.
        In fact, it appears that neither of us will get anywhere close to a finished draft before school begins.  I guess sport fans were better off with the World Cup after all.

[Picture: The high stakes: sushi buffet!]

1 comment:

Pax said...

And we'll all win if we get to read the final products. Cool idea. Good luck to both!