Well, it’s the end of October, and since I loathe Hallowe’en with an unholy passion that means that while everyone else gets to worry about costumes and parties and social lives, I’m plotting a new novel!
As always, I seem to be approaching it this year in a completely new way. The first time, I wrote randomly without a plan; then, I made a meticulously detailed plan that fell apart almost instantly. Last year, I gave myself a month to come up with as much detial as I could, treating it as seriously as I did my non-NaNo novels, which was an absolute disaster.
This year, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to do a NaNo novel at all, or if I was going to just rebel and just count 50,000 words towards my current project. And then one day I was watching a movie with a plot I’d seen before – businessman finds himself re-evaluating his life and his priorities after meeting the right sort of free-spirited dreamgirl – and I wondered how it would fit with my style of storytelling, if I could work it into a fantasy story at all.
About a week later, I had the urge out of nowhere to try and tell the story of an evil tyrannical fantasy regime, where the point of the story was something other than the heroes’ attempt to overthrow the villain. I understand, obviously, why so many stories with dynamic horrific villains make those villains the point of the tale, and just because you can write something doesn’t mean you should … but I don’t care, it sounded like fun.
I held the two ideas in parallel for about a week, and then all of a sudden things clicked together, and now apparently I’m writing the story of Minion Number 5, Assistant Chief of Personnel Distribution for the Divine Forces of the Lord of Dusk and Dawn. For the first and probably only time, I’m going to be introducing fantasy races into the story, and I’m going to bring in a merry band of heroes. None of it’s my style – I hate elves and dwarves, and the fighter-rogue-wizard setup is boring, and I’ve never found myself compelled to write the life story of an upper-middle class man struggling with upper-middle class angst.
But one of the things I’ve come to realize is that every story is worth telling – it’s just a question of telling it the right way. Anything can be interesting, and everyone has something worthwhile about them. If the story seems uninspired, it’s probably a good sign that I’m not looking at it the right way.
And all of a sudden I’m super psyched! I love my main character, a half-dwarf trying to pass as human, desperate to distance himself from the marginalized life of his father. The free-spirited elven tavernkeeper has a past, and if I write her right, she’ll have a purpose in the story beyond helping the main character find his true destiny. I want the leader of the band of heroes to be a boring jerk, which probably means I’ve got some work to do on his characterization – but I’ve got a week to make that happen.
I have absolutely no idea what’s going to come of this! It might turn out as bizarrely as last year’s, or maybe I’ll do it right this time and end up with a full novella when this is done. Probably somewhere in the middle, but what I do know is that I’m really excited!
What about everyone else? Is anyone else doing NaNo this year? Have you got your stories figured out? Anyone who wants to is welcome to add me – http://nanowrimo.org/participants/persekore