For readers who aren’t familiar, NaNoWriMo is “National Novel Writing Month, shortened as NaNoWriMo (na-noh-ry-moh), … “an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place every November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1 and 30.” For more information read the rest of the Wikipedia definition here, or go to the NaNoWriMo site.
But since my writing’s been totally off the rails for quite awhile now, what with dealing with getting my house ready for the market, suffering from unexpected chronic pain and disability, dealing with the consequenses of menopause-induced brain fog (more on that in a later post,) shooting off exploring screenwriting, film-making and other, largely unrelated employment opportunities over the last couple of years, I’m thinking this might, in a counterintuitive sort of way, be A GOOD THING, as Martha says.
A bit of focus, you know?
NOTHING TO LOSE
Well before anyone starts shouting, ‘Hell Yeah, go for it!!’ I’ll just say I’ve already registered. I’ve never had trouble cranking out words before, but then again I’ve never committed to writing 50,000 new words in a month. But since my buddies at the RWA-GVC are doing it en masse, I figure I’ll jump on the coffee-trolley and see what happens. The worst case scenario is that I write no more than I’ve been writing lately, which is a big fat ZERO. Absolutely nothing to lose, right? My situation can’t get any worse, and the beauty of NaNoWriMo is, there really aren’t any consequences. (Except shame.)
PLANNING THE NOVEL BEFORE I BEGIN
The problem now is, I’m definitely NOT a “pantser” as we say in the biz. In other words I’m not one of those writers who can just sit down at the computer and start banging out words without any concern for what the novel is about or where it’s going. (The very thought of it makes me catatonic!). Which means that I have to decide WHAT I’m going to spend the month of November writing and do a little preparation. And since everything I’m working on (in a figurative, if not a literal sense) is either in revision, nearly complete, or a screenplay, I’m not sure what to choose.
Option A: To take my rough, incomplete outline for an interactive STEAMPUNK novel about a time-travelling jeweller and write through just one storyline. (Basically the interactive novel requires three “forks” in the story, something like gaming narrative, or “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories, where the reader makes a decision for the protagonist about where the story goes next, requiring a total of 12 different endings for the same storym, making it rather complicated.) But since I’m somewhat stuck on that, it makes me nervous. On the other hand…
Option B: To take the seed of an idea for one of my future novels and just go for it. Some of these are a bit better thought through than others. Whichever one I choose would fit into a potential “series” with one of my already completed novels. The possibilities include:
a) a story about an ambitious and uptight lawyer trying to rise above her family’s shame and a passionately dedicated social worker dealing with kids on the street, and greedy developers and corrupt city officials interfering with approvals for construction of a youth shelter, who teaches her to take risks, let down her hair and believe in causes again.
b) a story about a vain, hardened lawyer with a secret past whose glamourous life is shattered along with her face and her pelvis in a serious car accident, and who must rebuild herself inside and out while working through physiotherapy, with the help of a selfless contractor whose estranged wife’s street life as an addict doesn’t make his job as a father any easier.
c) a story about an Art History doctoral student doing thesis research in Florence who meets an Italian architect and gets drawn into his shabby-chic aristocratic family’s troubles, deciding to help them keep their run-down ancestral villa out of the clutches of a crazy-rich egomaniacal American rock star who wants to renovate it beyond recognition and destroy centuries of cultural history in the process.
Okay so that’s it. Tough choice, eh?
If you read this and want to vote, leave a comment and tell me which story you think I should write for NaNoWriMo and give me a couple of reasons why (or not). Depending on public opinion, it might make it easier for me to choose. And wish me luck. Thanks!