Okay, so I am genuinely filled with apprehension. I have decided, after many years of vaguely going ‘yeah’, to actually participate in National Novel Writing Month. The aim sounds sooo simple – write 50,000 words in a month – specifically, November. So that’s a convenient figure to divide by 30, giving me a target of 1,666 words per day, plus a possibly endlessly recurring .66666 words. That might mean it’s impossible – there will always be another fraction of a word left, until I get to day 30 anyway. I imagine anyone who can actually count will be able to assure me that this is okay. In my head there’s now an infinite hyphenation of fuck.
I formally signed up on the NaNoWriMo website today, which in my head commits me to action. I also found a range of enjoyable diversions like making a cover for the story! Apparently that makes it 452% (or something) more likely that I will complete the story. I am pleased to have improved my chances.
How Will I Make The Time?
By sheer force of will. That thing I’m massively well known for. On the plus side, I do have a bit more free time at present, which I’m already using to do more writing (see the blog for genuine success), as well as Lego time and wandering aimlessly. I already write in chapters of 1,000 words – time limited to an hour for The Desert Crystals. It’s been a good discipline. In theory, all I need to do is slightly more, every day instead of about once a week. I’m still intimidated.
I have considered getting up an hour earlier, but that’s just laughable. Getting up is the worst part of existence, and bending my day will only make this harder. So I’m going to have to fit it into the evenings and lunchtimes. I can do this.
Also, having just chucked this post through a word count – it’s 828 words anyway, so I am mostly being a tool (excluding this sentence).
What The Actual Fuck Will I Write About?
Well, it literally came to me in a dream… which is really handy as I was drawing a complete blank for a fresh idea (to me, at any rate – geez, whaddaya want from me – originality?) I like in the NaNo support materials the frequent refrain that it is quantity not quality I’m aiming for. Editing, refining, making it worth reading – that’s all for another day. In fact, self-editing will only make this process untenable. I’m already feeling better!
So my story idea is Watchers. That’s a crap title I admit, but I can change it as often as I like. That sounds like a fantastic distraction from doing the writing itself. But yeah, I had a dream: we have been invaded by aliens (I love sci-fi), who have taken no action and have not threatened the peoples of the world. Days (or weeks) later people wake up to the discovery that they’re being watched by hollow androgynous figures who follow us around and just… watch.
Preparation (say what)
I’ve been scribbling ideas about what might happen, which is unusual and painful for me. I am not a planner, I have never written anything, including an email while knowing what the end would be in advance. I do feel like I need a better overall scheme of things as preparation, but equally I’m well aware that I probably won’t have much of one. The idea has developed somewhat and I’ve got a super-vague story running order, but I reckon that gets me at best to about half way. I have no ideas about characters yet. That should be a problem, but right now I believe they will emerge.
I’ve always found in improv and in writing that it will work out okay in the end (except when it doesn’t), and that the trick is to be as detailed and thoughtful at the beginning as possible. Progress, and an ending that makes sense will emerge from the material, especially if I keep thinking about it while allowing the story to take over.
It all starts on Sunday 1st November. Expect to hear and see nothing of me for November. That’s not entirely true – I’m three weeks ahead on The Desert Crystals so they’ll still be available each Friday. I’m planning to post each day’s writing as a new chapter every day. That’s a kind of ongoing personal pressure which internally I’m quailing at so it’s probably a good idea. I’ll also be repeating my new mantra “this is something I want to do” all day.
You’ll be able to follow my progress both here on captainpigheart.com and on the novel page of NaNoWriMo which is where the word count will be shown: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/captain-pigheart/novels/watchers-872859
If anyone out there is also taking part, let’s be buddies on the site and attempt reassurance for each other. If you want to take part, sign up below:
Get ready to read… Watchers (I like that title less every time I type it.)