We’re just over a week away from November 1, which means we’re a week away from another National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is one of those things people either seem to love or hate; you either drink the kool-aid (as I have) and are a believer that it’s a great antidote for procrastination or you scoff at the idea that writing a novel is something that can be distilled down to a 30 day flurry.
I’m torn about what to do this year. I have two ideas for novels, one titled The Snake Detective about a herpetologist recruited by the police to help solve a bizarre snake-related murder. Now, murder mysteries are certainly not my forte, aside from my love of the TV show Castle, and I can safely say I’ve never written a murder mystery of any kind in my life. So while the murder mystery might be a genre as over saturated as any other, for me, it’s uncharted water. Also, I’m pretty sure very few people have written murder mysteries about herpetologists, so there’s my hook. Yes, this idea was inspired by my reaction to the rock python strangulation in August.
My second idea is one called Dreamshift. This one is more nebulous in my mind, but the basic idea is that each time you fall asleep, your mind shifts into a different world. This worlds exist concurrently, so each world you shift into moves on without you even after you wake up. The main character would then be living out fragments of his or her life in several different storylines. I’m sure this idea is already the basis for an anime somewhere, because that’s what always happens when I have a high concept idea like this. “Oh, that sounds just like Neon Galaxy Ghost Dream Warriors.”
The last idea is to try something different, which is to break one of the cardinal rules of NaNo. One of the rules is that you shouldn’t work with a story you’ve already been working on. There’s too much investment and time which can interfere with the ability to just write like crazy. There’s always the chance you’ll get bogged down. Also, you can’t use a word count from last year as a starting point, since that would be cheating.
Regardless, you’re still free to do what you want and since I’ve “won” the last few NaNo’s, it might be time for a change. My idea is to take the novel I wrote last year, Bleed, and finish it. I stopped at about 50,000 words, which wasn’t the end of the story. The goal then would be to create another 50,000 words. Bleed, Part Two, maybe. Bleed was my first venture into the cyberpunk genre; basically, a near future where everybody had their smartphone equivalents implanted directly into the brain which led to problems as the distinctions between the virtual world and the physical world began to bleed into one another. Hence the name.
I’m not going to crowd source this particular decision, of course. I’ll start working on whatever I feel the most inspired by come November 1. But some feedback would still be interesting. What do you think?
5 thoughts on “Countdown To NaNoWriMo”
Dreamshift sounds really cool, especially if the universes move at very different paces. What if each night of sleep was like a passing year in the other universe? Today I fall asleep and I wake up in highschool, tomorrow college, the next night (somehow) jail. The character could have lived through multiple lives like this already, each time getting glimpses into the other world.
Maybe January should be National Novel EDITING Month. Take your novel from November and go chapter by chapter, editing and rewriting. It would certainly help you polish a product that is otherwise made with more focus on speed and consistency than quality.
Better yet. Find a partner for Novel Editing Month and trade works.
I think January is the official editing month for NaNo, actually. The problem I’ve run into is that I rewrite and edit at a snail’s pace. Maybe having a partner would help alleviate that.
Glad the Dreamshift sounds cool; there would definitely be different time paces between the universes. The other aspect of the Shifting would be that it’s not exactly a rare ability, either; not everybody has it, but a fair number of people do, and at least a few of the universes are used to existing in this world where people blink in and out of time for days, weeks, or years.
I second Dreamshift. Lots of nifty potential there! And wouldn’t it be interesting if someone tried controlling their dreams (cf. lucid dreaming) – say, they met someone they know “IRL” in a dream verse, and wanted to find them over there again… Or something. I’m not the writer, or even a writer. 🙂
I vote The Snake Detective, precisely because you’re not invested in it. You have room to play and be silly and not worry if the writing is living up to your concept. You could read about snakes as legitimate research, maybe to do a series of short stories? Plus I seem to recall someone once advised me that writing out of your genre is a great way to improve your writing skills.
Also because I want to read The Snake Detective.
There’s disagreement in the ranks! We’ll see what happens come November 1. Dreamshift has a tremendous amount of story potential, but right now, it’s just a setting in my head. I don’t really have a sense of a protagonist or conflict beyond the details of the world. For the Snake Detective, I have an idea of the protagonist and the rough sketch of the first chapter.
Who knows, though. Last year, I was certain I was going to try writing the end of the previous year’s NaNo, only to switch gears on November 1 and bang out what eventually turned into Bleed.