Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NaNoWriMo - 2 - My Plan

Okay... so here's how I'm going to go about this. I've got my basic idea for the skeleton of the story, such as it is. Then each day I'm going to write another chapter (or two, depending on how I ultimately decide to structure it). I have no intention of fully plotting out the story, or even partially. As I type this, I intend to use my Idiot Box game cards to dictate what the next chapters will be about. That way, I have no pressure to have everything line up logically all the way to the end.

This will also allow me to approach this more like the writing exercise it is, rather than WRITING A NOVEL. It will be a fun, creative challenge every single day, and that's got me excited, rather than dreading it. Because I KNOW that if I'm given a few random elements that I can come up with an interesting story in no time at all.

So here's the premise:

The overall story is going to be the duel between two writers who have been co-writing a book. They have had some sort of falling out and have decided to sabotage the story. What they will do is each day, they will alternately write the next chapter of the novel, putting the main character in such a horrible situation that there's no way the other writer can extricate the character from it. This will constitute "winning" in the eyes of the writers.

The rest of the story will be the chapters as "written" by the two writers, told through the eyes of the main character, and with each chapter ending in a cliffhanger.

The ending will be determined, I'm guessing, by whatever themes, plot, and concepts that develop throughout the month.

As I type this right now, all I know is that the main character is named Bernie (as named by Ryan), he works as a car salesman (Ryan) in Lake Charles, Louisiana (Me). He's living a boring life, and something happens at the dealership to propel the rest of this story. I'm guessing there is a hold-up, or someone steals a car with him in it. Hey.. it's a test drive. That works.

One thing I think is that the tone of the two writers should be very different. They should have distinct enough 'voices' that the reader should be able to know who's writing the chapter just by how it sounds. But even still, the character has to be consistent regardless of which writer is at the wheel. I can kind of see one of them being more jokey while the other is more grim. That should provide a wide enough contrast.

At first I was going to make this a battle between the two writers, where they each attempt to sabotage the other's story, but I think it works better as a contest between the two. The first chapter can be the two of them setting up the ground rules for the contest, and the conditions for winning.

At this point, I'm unsure if I'm going to attempt to come back to the two writers during the story. I may not even come back to them at the end of the story. It would be nice to be able to make it work within the context of Bernie's story.

A potential title (and definitely a working title) just came to mind. Word War I.

One other idea I'm toying around with (actually, it just came to mind not ten seconds ago) is making this something like Betrayals in that each chapter is also a completely different style of story, such as newspaper article, blog entry, etc. That might make it more fun for me, but also more difficult, as in addition to coming up with the story, I'd also have to determine a style as well. Probably not, as that would make it more difficult to leave each chapter with a cliffhanger. Okay.. executive decision... same 'novel' style throughout.

Okay... just a little bit longer. I think I'll start a bit early on it.

Updates later.

NaNoWriMo - I'm Gonna Do It

So in three hours, at midnight, National Novel Writing Month begins. I think I've decided to participate. The members of the Barnes & Noble writers group I attend have been talking about it since the first meeting I attended, and until just a few hours ago, I had no intention of taking part. It's going to be a bear to get through.

The way it works is you have until November 30th to write a 50,000 word novel. That averages out to 1667 words per day. On Microsoft Word, that translates to about three full pages per day. Every day. If I miss a day, that means I have to write six pages the next day. It's a tall task.

But... I know I can easily write that much every day. I wrote my Camp David treatment in six hours (from scratch) and that was 6500 words and 13 pages. So 1700 words a day shouldn't give me too much trouble.

The good thing about this is that ultimately, what I write doesn't matter. The whole point of this contest is not to write the next great American novel, or even a passable novel. It's just to get all of the hundreds of thousands of would-be novelists to get off their butts and WRITE something. At the end of the month, you won't have a masterpiece, but you WILL be able to say "I'm a novelist". "I have written something."

While I know that I have several dozen different projects going at the same time, and work, and on and on, I think more than anything, I NEED something like this to get me going.

A short while ago, Ryan and I talked briefly about what my novel will be about. I have a neat idea for a story that really works well with something like this contest. So we'll see....

I'll check back in later.