November is National Novel Writing Month! For those of you who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge to write a 50,000 novel in just 30 days. That’s a couple thousand words a day. Sometimes it feels like a lot. Then again, most of my blog posts are around 500 words, so I’m deceived into thinking that it’s not so much.
Last year was my first challenge, and I did finish around 80,000 words, but I had a guide. I completely rewrote my first novel from beginning to end. I knew the characters, however, and many of the scenes were already in my head. This time it’s different. I’m working with a notion and a blank page.
I thought it would be fun to share the journey with you. It’s also hard to come up with blog material while immersed in the NaNo experience. I run out of vowels and writing doesn’t pay enough to buy more. So you get to hear me think out loud.
My first novel was a light piece of fluff. Funny, real, sort of romantic. These days my mood is kind of dark. I want to lurk in the shadows and live inside characters that don’t necessarily follow the rules. My life is about as twisted as a ruler. Writing is a place to safely let the snakes out of the can.
I also want to create my own world. Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus is one of my favorite books of all time. I am not a fan of fantasy/science fiction. All of the details take me out of the story and the characters. I skip though pages of magical incantation, technology, and sociopolitical structure of worlds I don’t give doodly about. My husband loves the genre. It makes me snooze. Night Circus, however, was different. Erin Morgenstern’s descriptions pulled me into her world and made the story so real and compelling, like walking through a strange and wonderful dream.
I have one more week to plan. I’ve taken the notes from my first novel off my enormous white board and I’m ready to start again.
So, how would I describe what I’m working with? It’s really odd, but that’s what I’m going for, right?
The ingredient list :
Wuthering Heights – dark, tortured souls with intertwined pasts. Two families, one outrageously wealthy. The other on the fringes.
Gone with the Wind – unrequited, obsessive love and a main character with a questionable moral center willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. A sister/rival so naive you want to smack her around.
Thor – two brothers, one lesser, battling for approval and acceptance, irreparably broken, but much more compelling than the elder who gets all the glory despite being a tool.
J. Peterman Catalog – a lux environment with a touch of exotic vintage novelty which feels like the world we live in, but is sort of bullshit–meaning I invented it, it doesn’t conform to reality, get over it.
Throw in a lot of booze, sex, scheming and plots gone wrong. I told two friends I wanted to do this. Simultaneously one said “NO!” and the other said “YES!” That tells me that even if I don’t finish the book, it could be a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy the ride.
Photograph, “J Peterman Venetian Masks” by Morgan Day © 2010 Creative Commons