And So It Begins…

It’s November 1st, and all of you writers out there know what that means: National Novel Writing Month has begun.  …and I still don’t know what novel I’m writing during the next 30 days of my life.    I have three in progress – world and character building has begun and plots are coming together in my head – but I don’t know which one I should start working on.

To start, I thought I’d taken the high fantasy off the table.  Easy as the world-building was going for me on that one, I kind of figured it’d be the one that my brain set aside come the beginning of November, but I’m so in love with the character journeys in this one (and the obvious LGBT storylines) that I’m reconsidering it.  After all, I read somewhere that if you’re sick of world-building your novel, then that usually means you’re ready to write it.  Okay, I’m not sick of world-building this one… I love working on this world!  Hmm…

Next, there’s the dystopian novel with a lead woman who’s strong without having to play all of the stereotypes of being the ‘strong female character’ of today’s books.  I like her so much; I want to tell her story.  I keep having little epiphanies about the world for this one when I’m in class or at work or lying down to go to sleep, but whenever I sit down to world-build or brainstorm about characters and scenes I just can’t think of anything.  That’s not really promising for a ‘seat of your pants’ writing adventure, but I can’t simply set it aside for some reason.

Finally, we come to the post-apocalyptic idea.  This one comes together in threads.  It has so many characters in so many situations that it’s probably perfect for NaNo in that when I get sick of writing from one character’s perspective, I can just jump to another one.  Unlike the other two, this one will be told from more than two perspectives.  (Though the high fantasy may include up to five… )  This story has a beautiful array of characters and races and species to choose from and could work quite well if I wasn’t so behind on the world-building.

So there you have it: three options.  I keep talking them out with myself and trying to justify one over the other.  Not that I didn’t consider just writing all three this month – I did – I just don’t think that’s a smart idea if I want to actually get anything done.

I just don’t know.  I don’t know, and today is the day I need to begin.  Maybe I’ll just sit down, start writing, and see which story pops up first…?  That’s as good a plan as any.

How did you choose the story you’re working on for NaNoWriMo?  Did you have other contenders?  How are you sorting them out for now, and for future work?

Good luck to my fellow WriMo’s!  Fifty thousand words: we can do it!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

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World Building: NaNoWriMo Prep

Perhaps it’s overly ambitious of me, but I am currently prepping three different novels.  Not because I think I’ll finish all three before the end of November, but because I know myself well enough to know that if I prep only one of my ideas there’s a good chance that I’ll only be able to think of scenarios for one of my other stories.  I don’t want to tell myself that I cannot work on a project when I have ideas for it.

In the interest of doing this, I have begun world building all three worlds.  Now in fairness, I’ve been randomly world-building all three projects since I dreamt them up.  Until this morning, however, I had not yet begun the difficult work of setting up all of the rules that existed within any of these worlds.  To ensure I’ve covered all of my bases, I am working through these challenges – 30 Days of World Building: Master List.  Of course, to get a proper jump on NaNoWriMo I will be doing three of these challenges every day for the next 10 days for three separate stories.  After all, I want the chance to do some character development pre-NaNo, as well.

It’s actually kind of fun for day 1 to see how drastically different these three stories are.  Yes, they have some similar themes in a way.  Many authors, including some of the greats, write about similar themes all their lives, I’ve noticed.  However, they are also different enough in tone, mood, setting, and so on to be set apart from one another.  One will be dystopian/fantasy/horror where the two main characters are never settled, never feel safe, and always running from what is after them at any given time.  The next will be a post-apocalyptic/somewhat alien invasion-esque (in a way) story in which a major change in the world must settle over everyone within it before there can be peace… good luck with that.  And the final one is a high fantasy I’ve been dreaming up for AGES at this point that is really more of a comment on today’s educational system than anything else at this point, although there are definitely themes of societal norms and bullying mixed in there as well.

Honestly, I’m quite happy to finally be working – writing and building something – rather than being a victim of life and my own schedule where I only wish and dream of having the time to write.  Sure I only got three hours of sleep last night so that I could get up and write while still managing to be awake early enough to get to my 8am class on time, fit in homework time, and study for that quiz today, but it’s so worth it just to have something finally written down.  It’s such a relief to be getting it out of my head.

NaNoWriMo for Discovery Writers

I hear all the time through the month of October that NaNoWriMo participants should be prepping their novel by outlining.  Now, I’m sure this works for some people, however I’ve found that most discovery writers – myself included – will lose complete interest in their story once it has been outlined.  Once the story is outlined for a writer who’s greatest joy is discovering the story via the writing process, they will no longer need to write it because they have told themselves the story.  So where’s our list of prep work pre-NaNo?  Why are we forced to sift through the long posts directed toward outliners to find something useful to us?

I have compiled a list of links and posts specifically for myself as well as fellow discovery writers.  Here is what we can do pre-NaNoWriMo to prepare ourselves, our worlds, our characters – our story for writing. 

  1. Get as much world-building finished as you possibly can: 30 Days of World-Building – Master List
  2. Come up with characters, give them histories, personalities, descriptions, and archetypes: 365 Days of Character Development & 30 Days of Character Building
  3. Think up scenes you want to write, either where something in particular gets accomplished or where a specific group of characters are to meet, converse, fight, etc.
  4. Get to know your characters and your world by writing scenes before the story occurs.  Since we’re not supposed to start on our novels before November 1st, this is a good way to get to know your characters.  Throw a couple of them into a conversation, get to know them as children, write an interaction between the character and their parents or an ex or an old best friend, explore the scene in which they discovered their greatest fear or their favorite food, and just anything you can think of that precedes your story. 
  5. Lather, rinse, and repeat until November 1st.  You will constantly come up with new characters or develop your original characters until they are much more round and full, or new world elements that will make your world more believable. 

(If anyone can think of something I’ve missed and can point me in the direction of a corresponding link, please comment below.  ^-^)

I hope these resources help you in your creative journey, and better prepare you for your own 30 day quest toward 50 thousand words.  Also, if anyone would like to join my buddy list so that we can encourage one another on our individual journeys, here is my NaNo Profile.  Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day! 

Ideas vs Implementation

I had another fun novel idea the other day.  So like a good little writer, I opened a blank notebook, and began brainstorming my ideas for it.  Three straight hours at a lounge/coffee shop the first night, two hours during a study break the following day, and another two hours on public transportation and during lunch the day after that.  There’s world-building to do, character development, and at least a generic working knowledge of the world’s rules.  However, as a discovery writer, what I want to do more than anything else is just start writing.  Let’s jump into this now, and see what happens.

Now, I know that the better thing to do is wait until all of the world-building, or at least most of the character development, is finished before I start writing.  I know this, but there’s this problem I have with this and that problem is that I honestly lose interest if I take too long getting to the writing.  Then again, if I just start writing, rewrites will be necessary before I even finish the first quarter of the draft.  So, what to do?

I honestly think that I just don’t know how to begin a novel idea once the world-building is sufficiently finished, and the characters have a solid foundation.  How do you begin a huge story idea when all you have is a world and a few characters?  I see a path, I want to put my characters onto it, but I get to the beginning and I just cannot see how to begin it.

The easy answer to this (and perhaps the right one) is just begin writing.  Discovery writers tend to be notorious for our false starts.  I know this.  So I should just begin.  Put the characters into a scenario and see what they do.  Honestly, the reason I’m even writing this, the reason I hesitate, the reason I have difficulty beginning is that once the world is build and the characters are more real to me… ruining their story becomes a real fear in the back of my mind.  Then I begin to stress about where to begin.

Then again, I already have my answer, don’t I?  False starts are natural.  Rewrites are inevitable and necessary.  Just start writing.

That was easy, wasn’t it?

……

Thanks for reading my musings, and have a lovely evening.  ^-^