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!