Gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2017

NaNoWriMo begins in three weeks and I’m beyond excited! I’ve been laying the foundations of my project for over a month, getting to know my characters and creating a structure for the book. October is being spent outlining in as much detail as possible and November (NaNo month) will be for all the writing.

50,000 words feels like a lot to write in thirty days. It’s a slightly intimidating number and I’m not completely sure that I’ll manage it (it’ll be the longest thing I’ve ever written), but I’m going to give it my best shot. I felt a similar level of trepidation before starting my Camp NaNoWriMo projects in April and July of this year so it’s a familiar sensation. I completed both of those with plenty of time to spare, but they were less than half the length of this one. It’s a massive challenge but I do like massive challenges.

Although this project has been in my head and on my computer for a while now, it’s still very much a voyage of discovery. I’d like to say that I’m intentionally refining my process, but really I’m still getting to know it. I’ve found that I definitely need a solid outline or I end up changing my mind about things and having to rewrite a lot. I’ve also found that I can’t just sit down and create an outline from nothing because I’m more characters-first than story-first.

What I’ve discovered works for me is to have a firm concept in mind for the project, then spend time with the characters while creating a rough structure. As I get to know the people who live in my head, the story begins to shape itself based on their motives and desires. I create very detailed character profiles and this sparks chunks of dialogue and other vague sketches. These spontaneous bits and pieces may or may not end up in the finished project, but when they appear in my mind I write them down because they always help me to build the story.

I don’t want to say too much about the details of my project because I’m still creating it and so much is subject to change, but I’m happy to share a blurb (very much a work in progress!) and introduce you to the characters, so here goes…

A retired contract killer, a hacker with a poet’s soul, an underworld chauffeur, a musician with a penchant for blood magic and a solider struck by lightning.

Inspired by the concepts and symbolism in tarot’s major arcana, 22 Cards weaves a winding path through five lives connected by the delicate threads of chance and possibility.

Brett
Hacker with a poet’s soul. Night person. Hardcore multi-tasker. Vodka, take-away food, Danish art house cinema. Death before drudgery.

Cain
Musician with a penchant for blood magic. Pills for breakfast. Keeps dead flowers for too long. Wants you to love her, dangerously.

Mercy
More casual chauffeur than get-away driver, but never say never. Woman of few words. Craft beer. Concealed weapons. Shit happens.

Noah
Retired contract killer, reluctant ex-smoker, coffee connoisseur. Stormy seas and expensive coats. Has feelings about not having feelings.

Wolf
Ex-military, current wandering god/fallen angel archetype. Accidental purveyor of prophetic wisdom. Struck by lightning – twice.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, which is pretty much just brain-spew since I haven’t started properly writing, and won’t until November, check out 22 Cards’ page on NaNoWriMo’s website here.

4 Replies to “Gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2017”

  1. You are so smart to have started a while ago. I just decided, on a whim, to do it. Like a week ago. I have been panic-organizing my thoughts since then! I’m lucky I decided to just do a story that has been percolating in my brain for a few years now, instead of the one I really want to do with Japanese yokai – there’s too much research to do there, and too much translation to English too :\

    I did it many years ago… maybe 7 or 8 years ago, and it was hard, but not too bad if you don’t hold yourself to editing or anything. Just write for the sake of writing, and it’s not terrible. I did go back and find my old story, and realized skimming it that I basically re-wrote the same scene like 15 times, just moving slightly forward each time lol

    I cannot wait to read a bit of yours, it sounds great! I am taking it’s more modern fantasy? That’s so exciting!! I need to figure out how to add you as a Nano friend, yours sounds truly fun! I like Mercy already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not fantasy-y…at least not much, more sort of ‘real world but weird’, if that makes sense? Or at least that’s how it is in my head right now, god knows what it’ll end up as by the end end of November!

      I have to seriously fight with myself not to edit stuff. I’m hardcore obsessive and perfectionisty that way. Doing the month of flash fiction in January really helped me get past that because I accepted that I would basically be posting unedited first drafts every day for a month. It killed me at first but then it sort of became easier. I still twitch about it though.

      For adding writing buddies, if you go to my page https://nanowrimo.org/participants/tanya-simone-simpson there’ll be an “Add as buddy” button there somewhere near the top right. It’ll notify me that you’ve added me so I’ll be able to find your URL and add you from there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, gotcha! I guess I’m just stuck in “fantasy mode” since that’s basically all I’ve been obsessively thinking about. Real world is even harder – I had a chance to sit down once and talk to Neil Gaiman, and I commented that something like American Gods must have been so challenging to write, since it is so based in the real world.

        See, I’m the other way. I have to challenge myself to actually edit – I guess I edit as I go, taking a lot longer, but it’s like pulling teeth to go back over something again!

        Like

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