You’ve done an excellent job holding your own in the kasbah this past month. Well done, friend. Can’t thank you enough for keeping tabs on the joint while I was sequestered in the writing cave during NaNoWriMo. I’m not even going to ask about the “Do Not Enter” sign scrawled in your handwriting and tacked to a boarded up area of the kasbah. Or about the sawdust on the floor or the tool belt hidden beneath the cushions. It’s all good. I owe you one. And no, that won’t be in the form of sending you directions to the writing cave.
I do have exciting news to share, though.
I can hardly believe it myself.
You’re the first to hear of it. Lucky you.
I *won* NaNoWriMo.
Over the last month, I spewed forth 50,000+ words into my manuscript and crossed the NaNo finish line with a day to spare. Sure, about 25,000 of those word combinations are some of the most craptastic ever written and will be tossed out upon revision, but the point is I DID IT. Yeah, I’m surprised, too. Must have been all of that chocolate bourbon pudding you made for me.
I also learned a thing or two about myself along the mighty NaNo way, like I can be a lightning fast word slinger if I have an outline of the story already there for the taking. I had always considered myself more of a pantser (no, not that kind) and not so much of a regimented outliner. But as soon as I embraced the idea it could be constructive rather than constrictive, well, that made all the difference. Now, I see it as a map of the Story Writing Road Trip. And you know how I love maps and road trips.
All of this word slinging has consumed most of my time and as such I’ve been in the dark on what’s happening in your life. In retrospect, I’m glad I wasn’t in the know because it might have derailed my writing momentum. You see, I can multitask with the best of them, but when I read about all the goings-on in your busy life and then take a peek at mine, I feel a little… slackerish.
I know I’m only working full-time, parenting, and writing a little blog and a novel while doing my best to indulge in luxuries like eating, sleeping, and breathing once in a while. But you? You’re working on multiple films and signing on to several more, making recordings for radio and CD compilations (click here for a listen to one of them), doing theatre performances and charity bike rides, all the while flying back and forth across the pond. And that’s just in the last couple of months. Next you’ll tell me you can eat and breathe at the same time, too.
Not that I need to justify how I spend my time, but aside from accomplishing the 50K word count, I have also been working on my British accent over this past month. How did I find time to get in all that practice? Audio books, my friend. The last three audio books I’ve downloaded were narrated by men with British accents. It was like having a tutor in my car with me as I drove to and from work. They’ve given me hours of solid practice and instruction. Neil Gaiman, in particular, was especially helpful and, unbeknownst to him, instrumental in determining my second Favorite English Word Spoken in a British Accent: fingers.
No, it’s not in jeopardy of dethroning aluminium, the reigning champ of Favorite English Words Spoken in a British Accent (as previously mentioned here). But just like aluminium, it makes me smile and giggle whenever I hear it.
And yes, that IS weird that Mr. Gaiman helped me discover my second favorite word just weeks before I heard news of you recording a radio play of one of his books, Neverwhere. Coincidence? Maybe, though it seems more like you’re trying to hitch your immensely successful wagon to my much smaller, lesser known, trendsetting one. No problem. I’ve been working out so I can handle the weight of your celebrity status tagging along.
Additionally, I have been getting extra practice on my accent each night when I read The Hobbit to the 12-year-old. There are a lot of opportunities to practice a variety of dialects in that book, let me tell you. Between the audio books and my theatrical performances of The Hobbit, I’m pretty much at the head of my imaginary class on Americans Trying to Sound British. It’s o.k. to be impressed. I can handle it.
Thanks for asking readers to vote on the writing cave theme song. Presently, there is a tie between Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys and Feeling Good by Nina Simone, both excellent options. I simply can’t decide between the two, so I’m going to leave the voting open one more week to see if the tie can be broken. (To cast your vote, click here.)
Since I’m considering doing “NaNo Lite” during December to power through to the end of this novel, I may call upon your assistance again. Plus, things are a bit chaotic in the writing cave these days with my resident genius all whacked out on a new novel idea and making numerous attempts to corral the furry plot bunnies running amok. Unfortunately, he’s had no luck with that so far. At least he stopped wearing my Cat Woman suit since I mentioned it was giving the plot bunnies a fright. I hope it’s not too stretched out. I do have some errands to run.
*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and obviously did not come from the actor himself. This series is just my way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be seen or read as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.