Thursday, November 3, 2011

Writing a novel in one month is for wimps. I wrote a novel in one day. Actually, I wrote a novel in like 20 minutes

November is, for some reason, National Novel Writing Month, or, if you prefer, nanowrimo for short. The object is to write a novel in one month. Actually, that's not true, if this particular post is to be believed:
The basic premise is that you take 30 days to write a draft of a 50,000 word novel, which averages about 1,667 words per day. You are allowed to outline and plan beforehand, but the actual writing can’t happen until November 1.
You're allowed to outline and plan, but not actually write? Outlining and planning is part of writing a novel. In fact outlining and planning are the most important parts of writing a novel. If you're allowed to start those before "the actual writing" begins, then I guess I don't understand the point of the arbitrary 30 day time constraint.

Anyway. Today, this morning, I endeavored to write a novel in one day-- and I exceeded my goal by about twenty three and one half hours. I was also so efficient that I managed to get my novel written in about 1,500 words or so. Below is my novel, in its entirety. Please enjoy.

Disgusting Life, or, A Wretched Tale, in Two Parts
A complete novel by Ricky Sprague

Part First: How Mr. Sinclair and Madame O came to be married.

So in love was Mr. Sinclair that he did not see the object of his affections, Madame O, as anything other than a sweet, comforting angel. This naturally made him a source of ridicule and scorn in the town, for nothing is so ridiculous nor so loathsome as a man who is too blinded by affection to see how foolish he is being made.

One afternoon, Mr. Sinclair called upon Madame O in her parlor, for sorghum and cornpone, as was a holdover custom of more genteel times. Madame O, seated on a settee and wearing enormous petticoats, did not rise to greet him. “Please forgive me, that I do not rise to greet you,” said she, in a halting voice. “For, you see, my knees are weak and I fear I have a slight case of the vapors.”

“Trouble yourself not,” Mr. Sinclair said, in his sincere yet stilted manner. “For it is a pleasure to my eyes to see you seated upon your settee thus, and if you’d risen in the manner customary in polite society I would have been cheated out of the experience of gazing upon you sitting there.”

He took a seat upon another settee, adjacent to the one on which Madame O’s body now sat, quivering, as Mr. Sinclair only just noticed. “She must be trembling with joy to see me,” he thought.

A servant brought them the tray of sorghum and cornpone, and they each began to eat. “Why do your hands tremble so, when you eat your cornpone and drink your sorghum?” Mr. Sinclair asked, in the openhearted manner with which he ever asked any question.

“’Tis merely that I am trembling with joy to see you,” said Madame O, with a slight shudder.

Mr. Sinclair, himself, gave a shudder at what sounded to his ears to be a verification of his own suspicions. “If only we weren’t enslaved by these traditional customs!” he declared. “If only I could take that dainty, alabaster hand in mine, with its slender fingers—” (for Mr. Sinclair’s fingers were quite slender) “—and press my lips to your perfumed skin! If only polite society did not prevent me being so bold!”

Madame O gasped, a gesture which Mr. Sinclair took as a visceral assent to his importunations. In a trice he was on the settee next to her, his hand clasping hers. “Fie upon convention!” he exclaimed. “I shall declare myself now without fear! I will show you of what I am made!”

Again, Madame O gasped, which Mr. Sinclair took as a positive signal of his own effect upon her. He leaned forward to kiss her hand, and thought he heard, faintly, the sound of muffled laughter. He then noticed something which struck him as even more peculiar: Madame O appeared to have three feet visible from under her petticoats… One of those feet being upside down.

So clouded by the pollutant called love was Mr. Sinclair’s mind that he did not at first understand the implication of what his eyes beheld. “Does Madame O find herself afflicted by a third leg?” he inquired, earnestly.

“A third leg, yes,” she replied, “but ‘tis no affliction!” At that, there emerged from beneath her petticoats a man whose countenance Mr. Sinclair had seen before, in the stocks as punishment of being found guilty of selling his wife’s children for money with which he had purchased a revolver which he then used to rob a group of elderly lepers. He laughed, thanked Madame O for allowing him the pleasure of her body, then spat upon Mr. Sinclair.

“You are a dog, sir!” Mr. Sinclair declared, shocked.

“Aye,” the man said, dryly. “A dog that likes to chase pussy!”

So scandalized was Mr. Sinclair by the tone of the man’s veiled vulgarism that he became emotionally ravaged, and his empurpled body collapsed upon the settee, which itself reverberated with the shocks emanating from his body. Madame O laughed, and sat down beside him. “Oh, dearie. You’re too sensitive,” said she. “Don’t take it so hard.”

At length, Mr. Sinclair again found the ability to articulate. He chose his words carefully: “Madame O, I had planned on letting our courtship run its natural course, yet I can now see that in order to win your affections I must be more demonstrative! I desire now to request a meeting with your father, that I may ask him for your hand in marriage!”

Again, Madame O laughed. “Suit yourself, suitor!” She then called to her father, who stepped out from behind the paper partition that divided the room. Her father, a large man with a face nearly equal in redness to his hair, sat beside Mr. Sinclair, who by then gave the outward appearance of having recovered from his spell.
“I couldn’t help but overhear what just happened,” the father said, “being as I was in the same room with you. I understand you want to speak with me.”

“I wish to ask you for your daughter’s hand in marriage!” Mr. Sinclair said.

Apparently the father found this an uproarious suggestion, for there ejaculated from his mouth a furious staccato of guffaws the likes of which Mr. Sinclair had never before heard. Accompanying the father’s abrasive aural revelry, Mr. Sinclair also heard the sounds of Madame O’s laughter which, it seemed, was somehow less dulcet than usual.

“Forgive my laughter,” said the father, at length, “but your proposition strikes me as hilarious, and when I hear an hilarious proposition, I laugh uproariously. My daughter isn’t likely to be a fit wife, especially to a sensitive type such as yourself.”

“I love her dearly,” said Mr. Sinclair. “And I know that the force of my love will impose upon your daughter the curative of virtue that will ensnare her in the cage of chaste love!”

The father shrugged, then slapped Mr. Sinclair upon the back. “Good luck to you,” said he. Thus, having served his purpose in our narrative, he again took his place behind the partition.

So it came to pass that Madame O and Mr. Sinclair were married. Madame O (despite the marriage, she continued to wear the cognomen “Madame O”) engaged in lewd acts with an usher, Mr. Sinclair’s friend Mr. Rogers – who had served as Mr. Sinclair’s best man – and with one of her own matrons-in-waiting, in the waning moments of their wedding reception. Thus, too tired to fulfill her wifely honeymooning duties, she slept alone in the conjugal bed, while Mr. Sinclair, patiently, slept on the floor beside the bed.

This arrangement continued more or less unabated for two years, for that was how long it took Mr. Sinclair to finally accept what his clouded mind already suspected: That he alone was not the sole beneficiary of his wife’s physical ministrations. He conspired to catch and confront her during her shamefully shameless actions. This was no sooner thought than done, for Madame O made no effort hide her activities. So one night, when he heard the bed begin squeaking, Mr. Sinclair simply rose from his place on the floor and told his wife to stop laying with other men.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Stop laying with other men, like the man with whom you’re laying now.”

The man in question gave each member of the married couple a quizzical look. “I thought this arrangement was agreed upon and acceptable to all parties,” said he.

Ignoring the man who lay atop her, Madame O said, “I see no reason to change my life at this point, simply to accommodate you. Besides that, I have given you two children, as I recall, and that should be more than enough to occupy your obviously troubled mind.”

“One of those children was stillborn,” Mr. Sinclair replied. “The other was of a decidedly swarthy hue, and I am not entirely sure that the child was mine.”

Madame O pursed her lips. “I care not for your tawdry accusations and your insecurities. You’ve ceased to be amusing, and I am leaving this arrangement.”

“I am leaving this arrangement as well!” Mr. Sinclair agreed. The three of them left the house.

Madame O’s and Mr. Sinclair’s one child, Charles Peter, died the following day of starvation, having been forgotten by them both.

Part Second: What happened following the dissolution of their marriage.

Mr. Sinclair spent his nights drinking, and his days sulking. Soon, his days and nights blurred together, and he was intoxicated and miserable all of the time. At his government office, he was unable to perform even the simplest of his duties, such as transcribing lists of possessions of recently deceased clergymen, and he was terminated from his job. He spent his days in destitution, staggering about the streets in desperate search for some respite from the misery that was his constant companion.

He lay in the gutter, moaning her name. “Madame O,” he would moan. “Maaaaaaaadddaaaaaaaammm Oooooooooo,” he would moan.

One day, he was overheard by a lout as he left a public house. “Madame O?” the lout asked, kicking Mr. Sinclair in the ribs. “She’s just about the finest prostitute in all of three counties!”

At this, Mr. Sinclair’s heart skipped. After that regretful night in which Mr. Sinclair had confronted his beloved bride, she’d seemed to disappear completely, despite his best efforts at finding her. Now, as the man placed a muddy shoe against his temple, Mr. Sinclair felt hope. “Tell me where she is,” he demanded.

“She works in a brothel down in Q___,” the man said. And, having thus served his purpose in this narrative, he staggered into the night, while Mr. Sinclair made his way to Q___.

He walked the streets until his tatty shoes were torn to tatters. His clothes hung off a frame that had become nearly skeletal from lack of nutrition. He retraced his steps out of confusion and miscreance, yet finally he located the brothel in which Madame O kept the apartment in which she plied her wares.

So thoroughly loathsome was Mr. Sinclair that Madame O, who was even more robust, voluptuous, and rosy-cheeked than before, thanks to regular exertion and dining afforded her by her steady and frequent employment, did not at first recognize him as the man she’d once regularly cuckolded. “Much as I like my job,” she told the sallow-complected bag of bones she now beheld, “I cannot see my way clear of doing for you.”

“But, I was once your loving husband!” he moaned.

At that, Madame O gave a start, then laughed as uproariously as she’d laughed on that day when he’d asked for her hand in marriage. (A day which Mr. Sinclair remembered with much fondness.) “Why, Mr. Sinclair! Just get a look at you!”

His heart raced to hear the sound of that voice he’d so desperately been longing to again hear. “Please,” he said, “let me just caress you…”

“A caress is twenty-five cents!” Madame O declared, striking the price board which Mr. Sinclair had not before noticed. Listed were the activities in which Madame O was willing to engage, and the price for said services. What he read made his mouth water, and stirred his loins in a way that had only a few months before seemed impossible thanks to drink and malnutrition.

As the door to Madame O’s apartment opened, Mr. Sinclair heard the ringing of the bell, and a man pushed past him. “You’ll have to excuse me now, poor wretch,” said his former wife. “But I’ve work to do.”

“You want me to throw him out?” the man asked.

“No – he’s leaving,” Madame O said, in a stern voice.

Mr. Sinclair did just that, resuming his dazed shambling through the streets. By chance he came upon a small, undernourished boy, walking down the street alone. The boy held in his hand a silver coin, upon which he was gazing with loving attention.

“What have you there, my boy?” Mr. Sinclair gasped, as casually as he could.

“It’s a two-dollar coin,” the boy said, proudly. “I won it in the church lottery, and I’m going to use it to buy my parents fresh bread crumbs. You see, we’re so poor that we can usually only afford stale bread crumbs that have been gnawed by diseased rats.”

“Well, aren’t you a lucky boy,” Mr. Sinclair said, licking his lips at he prospect of what two dollars would buy him in his ex-wife’s apartment. “Why don’t you let me have that coin, and I’ll give you four dollars in return!”

The boy refused, and the two of them had a long discussion during which the child likened Mr. Sinclair to the devil, as in that old chestnut about the child encountering the devil on his way to school, and then Mr. Sinclair picked up a rock and clouted the boy’s skull, spilling gore and brain matter into the street. Mr. Sinclair then took the boy’s coin (he now being dead no longer had use for it) back to Madame O’s apartment. She was surprised to see him, but nevertheless took his money and performed upon his nude, emaciated body two dollars worth of activities she’d never performed upon him when they were married.

“Next time you get any money, come back and see me,” Madame O said, sending him on his way and greeting her next customer, who happened to be the town magistrate, who was taking a break from investigating the murder of the boy who’d won the church lottery. Upon seeing the silver coin in Madame O’s possession, he made a mental note to arrest her once he’d finished engaging her services.

Both Madame O and Mr. Sinclair were arrested, and the two former spouses were hanged the next day in the town square.

The End.

No comments: