"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all."
-Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

Monday, October 26, 2009

My NaNoWriMo Plans

In the "brag to everyone you know" spirit of NaNo, I thought I'd share this year's plans with you all.

I've not been writing much for the past year and, as such, I'm horribly out of practice just putting words on the page. When I do sit down to write, I'm usually writing only about 200 - 300 words per hour. I will also (hopefully) be moving house during the month of November, and I'll be going into surgery a month later. I know already that there is no way I can try to write a serious novel at a NaNo pace. So I've decided to do my very first truly traditional NaNoWriMo.

Here are my plans:

- At midnight on November 1st (or at the last point I have internet access on the 31st, since R------ doesn't have wireless) I will go to the Dares thread on the NaNo board and look at whichever dare is the first listed. This will be my prompt to start writing on 11/1.
- First thing every morning through the month of November I will return to the Dares thread and look at the topmost dare listed. I will have to include that dare in some form in that day's writing. Passing references count if I have something else specific I want to write that day.
- I will read the daily cards from my No Plot, No Problem Toolkit and follow the prompts given. I'll also email them out daily to anyone who's interested in seeing them but doesn't have the kit. Let me know!
- At some point, the Plot Ninjas will make an appearance in the book.
- I will also include the Travelling Shovel of Death (tm) at some point. (Search the NaNo forums if you don't know what the TSoD is. :p You might use it, too.)
- I will write everyday, even if I only manage 5 words or if I have to include lengthy song lyrics verbatim, dream sequences, extended description, really bad analogies or breaking the fourth wall in order to do it.
- I will take 10 index cards and write the numbers 0 - 9 on them, one per card. Everyday I will draw four randomly and put them down in order. The number given, anything from 123 to 9,876, will be my target word count for that day. I got this idea from R------, who found it on the NaNo board.
- I will post each day's output to my LJ, behind the writing filter. Not that the filter matters, since I'm never going to do anything with this "novel" later, but at least then I won't be spamming friends who aren't interested in my writing and risking their eyeballs melting from the horror of my prose. :)
- If the story stops working and it becomes difficult to keep writing I reserve the right to kill off the main character, switch to a more interesting secondary character and veer sharply into a new story that might excite me more.

I don't have a plot other than expounding on the idea of "anything that can go wrong will go wrong." (After the October I've had, I just want to make a main character go through something as bad.) Partly this is an experiment - Chris Baty swears that a plot will coalesce spontaneously after about two weeks of writing and based on previous novels I think this is plausible. So I want to see if, starting with nothing and using random dares and prompts to keep going, I end up with a coherent plot. For some value of "coherent", anyway.

I am developing the basics of character and setting, but I just started today, so I'm only spending a week on it. I decided I wanted a comedy of errors, a novel completely full of chaos and misunderstandings and characters working at cross-purposes. If anyone has read Connie Willis, I'm kind of hoping for a similar feel to what she puts in her novels, Bellwether especially. Only, you know, a lot crappier. Because of this, I want a whole bunch of minor characters who are almost more scenery than real characters - annoying coworkers, crazy housemates, demanding patrons, panicking family members, bossy classmates and interfering repairmen. I'm probably only going to have 3 - 4 really important characters, but I totted up my general cast and I have 40 characters who will make recurring appearances throughout the book. Now I think I'm insane. (No comments from the peanut gallery, please.)

So at this point I have a title and a first line, and I hope to do some very broad sketches of the recurring characters in the book in the next week. And I think that's enough to be getting on with.

My main goal is threefold: 1) to win NaNo, 2) to get back in practice writing, and 3) just to have a rollicking good time.

Oh - and while doing some basic internet research on stuff I need to know about my main character's job I think I might have, uh, stumbled onto a future career path. Apparently bizarre and unlikely plot twists during NaNo aren't limited to happening only within the stories written. Oh, irony, thy name is NaNo.

So, what is everyone else planning on doing this year?