Tag Archives: new idea

NaNoooOOOoooWriMo…

I may have done something foolish yesterday.

No. Scratch the ‘may have done.’ I did do something foolish. It could, however, turn out to be the best thing I’ve done in quite a while.

So, what did I do? Well, I signed myself up for NaNoWriMo, didn’t I.

Image: thesnapper.com

Image: thesnapper.com

‘NaNoWhat?‘ I’m sure some of you are saying – well, fear no more. I shall explain.

(At this point I cannot resist a picture of Inigo Montoya. Please stand by:

Image: quickmeme.com

Image: quickmeme.com

Okay. Normal service can resume.)

NaNoWriMo stands for ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ Every November, people all over the world pledge to write 50,000 words during the calendar month, and at the end of that time they submit their work (for counting purposes only) to the NaNoWriMo website. If they have reached the grand total of 50,000 words, or more, they are declared ‘winners’; if not, well, there’s always next year.

The idea behind it is to encourage people to write enough words to form a first draft – you’re only supposed to write for the month, not edit or any of that fancy stuff – so, in theory, there should be just enough time to get it done. The website offers encouragement, tips and tricks, all the help you could want and lots of support from your fellow NaNoWriMo-ers, and I think it’s a great idea. I’ve been wondering about taking part for a while now, and so yesterday I did what I normally do when I’m making a big decision, i.e. I agonised about it forever and then just threw caution to the wind and signed myself up before I could talk myself out of it.

I spent some time yesterday, once the deed was done, putting a little bit of flesh on the bones of an idea I’ve had stewing for a while. It’s an idea I haven’t thought about too deeply, so the story was a total sketch – all I had was a title, and a vague notion of the central characters. (NaNo is supposed to be about writing a story from scratch, not about putting the finishing touches to a project you’ve had on the go for a while, but I don’t think anyone really minds as long as you’re writing.) As you might expect for me, it’s going to be a children’s book, and it’s going to involve family ties and friendship, and noble self-sacrifice for others, and deep, life-changing love (but not the yucky kind. This will most definitely not be a ‘kissing book.’)

I promise, I promise it won't be a kissing book. Okay? Image: smallreview.blogspot.com

I promise, I promise it won’t be a kissing book. Okay?
Image: smallreview.blogspot.com

One character who I am quite clear on is the Antagonist – and he deserves that capital A, for he is a nasty creature – and I’m letting him settle in my head. The whole book will take shape around him. An ancient evil force, whose prison is made weak and who is finally released in error by a child, he will wreak all kinds of dreadful havoc. In preparation for getting started, I’m thinking deeply about a few things, including: ‘When I was eleven, what were the things I was most scared of?’ and ‘When I was eleven, who were the people I loved the deepest?’

Of course, I haven’t written a word. I can’t even write the title into my Word document before November 1st, because I would consider that cheating. However, I think a bit of mental preparation can’t hurt.

I’m also going to write this book in the third person. I’ve made that very clear to my brain just in case it starts to write in first-person, which seems to be its default setting. I haven’t tackled a full-length project like this in the third person for a long, long time, and I’m looking forward to that. Third-person gives the writer a bit more freedom than first-person, but it also means the reader isn’t as involved in the action. As a reader, I don’t really have a preference for one over the other, but as a writer I want to make sure I can handle both types of narrative voice with equal ease. So, this is my chance.

Of course, my NaNoWriMo project may well turn out to be nothing. The story may work, or it may not. I might reach my 50,000 word target, or I might burn out at the 20,000 word mark. I’m hopeful something great will come out of it, something I can work on and perfect well into the new year, but even if it fizzles out I know that nothing related to writing is a waste of time.

I still feel like I’m being a reckless so-and-so, though. Will you wish me luck? I’d really appreciate it.

And hey! If you want to take part yourself, here’s the link you need: NaNoWriMo. Have you always wanted to write a novel? Well, here’s your chance!

Happy Tuesday, folks. While I’m here, thanks for all the feedback I got – not all of it via WordPress – on yesterday’s blog post. It seems to have struck a chord with some of you, and I’m glad.

There Goes the Sun

The heatwave is over.

It Cannot BE! Image: knowyourglow.com

It Cannot BE!
Image: knowyourglow.com

Yes – it is true. Ireland has returned to its normal grey, slightly damp self. In some ways this is a terrible shame, but in a lot of others, it’s a blessing. It plays with one’s head, you see, to look around one’s country and see it behaving like a Grecian sea resort; it’s discombobulating. It’s made me feel like I’ve been walking around upside-down for the past few weeks. Of course, it was great to have the sun, and I will miss it, but I’m sure it’ll be back. Sometime in the next decade or so, that is.

In other news, work has been progressing nicely on ‘Tider Mark II’, as I’ve taken to calling it. I’m currently at 34,000 words, so more or less halfway through Draft 1. I’ve actually been enjoying the writing of it, this time around; every time I sit down to write, I do so with no real idea where that day’s work is going to take me, and I have to say I’m charmed by the freshness of this approach. I don’t feel like my plotting and planning is stunting the progression of the story. Instead, the characters are driving the action, and I think that’s good. Of course, it’s only a Draft 1 – there is a lot of work to be done, evident even at this early stage, in ‘filling in detail’, particularly at the beginning. I’m confident, though, that this can be done during subsequent drafts. That’s the benefit of having been deeply immersed in this story and this world before, I suppose – I know I can do it, because I’ve done it already, if that makes any sense. Already, I like this version of the story more. It’s free of unnecessary embellishment and all the sub-plots that added nothing but bulk to the book, and it’s far more tightly focused on the important things – i.e. the protagonist, her family, and the danger they’re placed in by the actions of those who are jealous of their power and influence and who want to bring them down at any cost. Plus, there’s more running and chasing and action and time-travel and a whole lot of other excellent and very fun stuff, and that can never be a bad thing.

Also, the other day, I started to form another tiny seedling of an idea. It was a first sentence, actually, that dropped into my mind unbidden, the first sentence of a new story completely unknown to me. It’s the same feeling you get when you read the first sentence of a crisp new book and it draws you in, absorbing you completely, making you desperate to find out more – except it’s even more exciting, because you know this is a book that hasn’t been written yet, and which is dependent on you to bring it to life. It’s been a while since I had a new idea, and it was beginning to worry me a little; I’m glad, then, that this ‘green shoot’ has appeared. My dusty old brain isn’t as dessicated as it might appear.

Image: anitadefonte.wordpress.com

Image: anitadefonte.wordpress.com

So, I hope I’ll be finished ‘Tider Mark II’ Draft 1 (it’s getting a bit complicated now, apologies for that) in the next few weeks. Then, I can put it to one side and think again about sending ‘Eldritch’ to another swathe of agents, and keep on top of my competition entries. Then, excitingly, it might be time to start another new project altogether – but which one will it be..?

I guess all you can do is stay tuned!

Happy Tuesday, everybody.