Sunday, 11 November 2012

NaNoWriMo progress (of sorts!)

Bad news: I’ve only managed an average of 701 words per day so far (I should be aiming for 1,666).

Good news: I think there might actually be the beginnings of a novel in here!

In accordance with the rules of NaNo, I began writing on November 1st with no plot, no title, no list of characters, and not even a particular genre in mind. Some kind of mystery perhaps? With a bit of romance? And some humour? Plus hints of the supernatural?

My starting point – eventually – was a vague idea about how two very different characters might meet each other for the first time. So I spent the first couple of days letting them introduce themselves to each other (and to me). Then I had a look around the place where they live, dropped in a ‘strange happening’, introduced another couple of characters, and worked out what they all think/ feel about each other – and why.

Now I’ve got to the stage where they all have problems to solve and I’ve lined up several more characters in the wings who will either help or hinder them. Best of all, I now know what the theme of the novel is and, very roughly, what needs to happen at the end. How I’m going to get to that end is something I have yet to discover.

Back in the real world …

At the same time, I’m also trying to follow the Guardian’s How To Write a Book in 30 Days series and that’s not going so well. Day 1 was supposed to be spent doing character sketches: detailed descriptions of each character including their histories, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses etc. This seems a perfectly sensible idea for conventional novel-writing but in my NaNo novel I still have a lot of unanswered questions about my characters. For example, I haven’t even decided on all their names yet! But I have started a worksheet for each character and, as instructed, other worksheets for various settings and story threads, although they mostly consist of blank spaces and lots of question marks!


Friko said...

what becomes of the nanowrimo efforts? Do they get dumped or developed at some stage.

I’ve kept the Guardian’s supplement, not sure how much good that’s going to do me.

Anonymous said...

There's still time to catch up on those words, Linda - and at least you sort of know where you're going now. Good Luck!

Linda D said...

At the end of November I'll save all my NaNo writing and will then forget about it while I get back to my normal writing and life!
Later - much later - I'll read through it. I already know most of it will be rubbish, but I'm hoping I'll also find a few story threads, characters, a bit of descriptive writing etc. that I can recycle and use somewhere else. If I'm lucky, as has happened occasionally in previous years, I might come across something that makes me say, Wow! This is good. Did I really write that?
Last year, I used NaNo for brainstorming short story ideas rather than a novel and so far I've used material from that for 3 complete stories, and I'm sure I'll be picking bits out of it for more projects in the future.

The Guardian's series certainly takes you through all the things you need to consider when writing a novel, but NaNo is more fun!

Murr Brewster said...

For my first novel, I dropped in names as placeholders, thinking I'd change them later, but I never did. My first beta reader had many good observations, but the one that floored me was that fully 2/3 of my characters had names that started with H. What the Hell?

Linda D said...

I've fallen into that trap, Murr, having names that are too much alike. I once had a Pat and a Tricia in the same story. To me, they were 2 very different characters but then I realised that a reader might think it was one person with a split personality!

I find it quite easy to name my main characters because their names are part of their personality. It's the minor characters like 'young police constable' and 'Bill's cousin' who remain nameless until I get to know them a bit better.