Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Week One

NaNoWriMo Week One

Ok. Week one of (NaNoWriMo) National Novel Writing Month is over and I am sitting at this moment on a respectable 12699 words. This is despite the fact I have just come back from a wonderful 21st wedding anniversary weekend away with my wife.

Now it’s time to get back to writing. In 2007 and 2008, by this time into the challenge, my stories were starting to take strange, unplanned turns.

I found out about NaNoWriMo toward the end of October, 2007 and entered the challenge with the simple image of the main character returning home from the cemetery where he had put flowers on his dead girlfriends grave. She had been killed a month earlier when a drunk classmate ran her down in a car. On the way home, he meets his girlfriend who begs him to help her save the boy who killed her. I had no other ideas about the story and basically explored what happened next to explain her appearance. The seat-of-the-pants method was quite fun but the final product, though it had some interesting concepts, was a complete confused mess.

I planned a little more in 2008 and did much better. Thanks a lot to the book cover art I created as an inspiration to keep writing. I still use it as my desktop graphic. It’s also the main reason I want to try and break into the book cover design industry. 2008’s effort was much more cohesive, but still ran off on several tangents that took me away from the story I envisioned.

This year, not only am I on track with my word count, I am on track with the story too, without the problem of losing the freshness of the story by over planning. There have been a couple of surprises for my with the story, some interesting new characters who have turned up out-of-the-blue and two of my bit part characters seems to have pushed their way to the front of the stage. But the main storyline is still true to the plan.

The above picture is of Clang, one of the bit part characters. He was an AI computer program placed inside a robot cat. Clang decides he likes being a cat a little too much and conveniently loses his vocal programming and now only obeys the commands he wants to obey.

This year I didn’t set out every scene in the outline, I picked the major plot points of the story and made signposts to use as a guide. I know I have to get the main character from where he is to the next signpost and I work out what events would believable get him to that point. It seems to be working and I have come up with some interesting events I couldn’t really have planned in advance.

Interesting times, but enough of this for now, I’m going back to my writing. I’ll post another update next week.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished Thirteen Reasons Why, Jeff. Very good read - the back and forth narration annoyed me a bit at first, but once I got into the story I found it was essential to the immediacy of it all. And yep, sad sad sad! Thanks for the recommendation and good luck with the rest of your NaNoWriMo - sounds like it's coming all well.