Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Writing: NaNoWriMo is coming, too.

So, NaNoWriMo is on its way. In case you're not familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, a month when a bunch of crazy people, including me, attempt to write a fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days (starting November first), and spend a lot of time procrastinating and talking about it on the NaNoWriMo website. I've participated for three years, giving up early the first year and finishing my fifty thousand words last year and the year before.

Those last two years, I worked on the same novel twice -- Coriolis Effect, some scraps of which were blogged here. I got the idea halfway through November year before last, then started it again from scratch last year. NaNoWriMo rules don't let you do any writing on your novel before November 1, so I had to either start from scratch or do something else. Or, of course, be a NaNoWriMo Rebel and choose to break a rule.

I could start it from scratch again, but I think that if I continue to pursue the idea, I'll want to do it in a slower and more planned way. It's a complicated, messy thing, involving two time periods about fifty years apart, and I'm still not sure how the core problem's going to be solved. If I work on it again, I'll end up just writing fifty thousand words of banter between Emily and Henry. And I think those two are a little annoyed with me.

So what to do this year?

I've considered exploring the possibility that my writing career, if it ever comes into existence, will be about nonfiction rather than fiction. So I could do the NaNoWriMo rebel thing and write fifty thousand words of nonfiction about...er. See, that's the difficulty. Writing about something like perfume or food or gardening would require at least a little research, even if it's mostly uninformed opinionating, and it's too late to get enough research done to allow me to write full-speed. I could write something memoir-like, though that sounds dangerously likely to be fifty thousand words of self-absorbed whining.

But even though I so far haven't found a topic, the idea of a nonfiction book is appealing. It might happen.

If it doesn't, I could try a novel with a very simple, to the point of simplistic, plot. It would be refreshing to actually know where my novel is  going to end up, so that I could focus on characters and situations and still drive the thing to an ending. I've been reading Charlotte MacLeod's books, which have plenty of plot but also have enjoyable characters and stylish-cozy writing, and I suspect that's the mood I'm going after this year.

Of course, simplistic or not I still need a plot. Some kind of plot. Preferably before November 1.  Help!

Image: NaNoWriMo.


  1. I am gonna be a NaNoRebel this year and do 50K on an already-started work.

    I know, I know, I'm not s'posed to.

    But I need that kick in the pants - alternately known as "excuse to leave the fam to their own devices and lock the bedroom door to write, and do NOT ask me when the laundry is gonna get done, and make your own darn lunch, kids" - to actually get down to bidness and get some stuff DONE.

  2. OH. Um... I was supposed to be suggesting options for you.

    I ran into that time issue thingy with my first NaNoNovel. I've been working on bridging that time span, and it's pretty complicated weaving, not a blast-it-out 50K sprint.

    Seems like a lot of simple-plot novels are getting published. I've got one of those in the can, too. It needs polish, but it was much easier to write. I think I might go that direction, if I were you: know where it's going to go, and drive the train to its destination, going back later (if necessary) to show us what's going on in, say, the dining car. Even if what's going on in the dining car is more interesting than getting to the station...

  3. I have no advice to offer, only admiration. You have just moved house and now you are writing a novel in a month? I don't even seem to find time to water the houseplants.

    (By the way, don't they do books with collections of stock plots in, and you could maybe pick one and dress it up a bit? A sort of google images for stories? I was sure I had heard of such a thing.)

  4. Yo, Mals! That sounds like a perfectly reasonable NaNoWriMo Rebel strategy for me. As I see it, a big part of NaNoWriMo is getting you to write, just write, and it sounds like your Rebel strategy will do that.

    Yeah, as I think about it, there are an awful lot of those simple-plot novels. I don't read all that many of them, because I focus so heavily on murder mysteries, which have messier plots. But when I do, I rarely complain about the fairly straightforward plot.

  5. Greetings, Vanessa! Well, we haven't _finished_ dealing with the post-house-moving junk. We're just intermittently ignoring it. :)

    Hmmm. A book of plots sounds cool. I'll search for that, thank you.