Friday, 30 October 2015


'NaNoPrepMo' is a term that the ever enthusiastic and inspirational writer Ava Jae likes to use, and so do I. It essentially means 'October, for those that have decided that they're doing NaNoWriMo'. Here are my current thoughts in PREParation for November's novel writing challenge:

So there's thirty days in November [you may already be aware...] which, if you want to hit the 50,000 word target, gives you a daily aim of 1,667. I was thinking about writing a different 'episode'/chapter every day, i.e. start a new one and, as long as it's natural enough to do so, finish it off on the same day. Obviously not going to limit myself to the wordcount, if I go over, I'll just see where the flow takes me. If I miss a day, of course I'll make up for 'the missing words' [although I suppose I do that every day anyway!]. I won't necessarily start two new episodes the next time, unless that's natural to what I'm doing. I'm not aiming for all the sections to necessarily be the same length, although it'll be interesting to see how 'regular' they are, seeing as how I've never tried such an intensive thing before.

On daily aims, I'll try not to take into account my going over. For example, if I reach 50,000 in two days [yeah, I know...], I'll still try and write 1,667 thereafter, but if I miss a day, I'll try and write 3,334 the next day to make up for it, if that makes sense. It's a 'no upper-limit' mentality, but a firm 'bottom line' [heehee, firm bottom...] will be ever present. I realise that this might amount more than the necessary amount of pressure, but that's what I'm aiming for at the mo.

My idea is a story about a university student  and how his first 'real relationship' changes him. I want to capture the Ham on Rye bull-charge feeling by relentlessly going from scene to scene [well, 'chapter to chapter' is more apt, but the way the chapters were in that novel felt very scene-like], hence why I'd like lots of shorter chapters. However, I won't be going completely linear. I want to experiment with, every now and again, saying 'wait, I forgot about the time that...' and see if that fits the narrative well. I suppose this may be something that will only really be done in editing [certainly it could only be evaluated in the editing process], but that's how this project has come to me, so so be it. I think rather than intentionally trying to do it, I might just see if the availability for such an opportunity naturally arises. I don't know if I'll have 'anchoring passages', i.e. a shared time/place/whatever where the narrator breaks up the progression [assuming there is any!], but again I think I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself, I'll have to see whether these thoughts find their opporunity, or whether they should be added later...

First person. Although, if I start to struggle with events being too close to 'real life' history, I might switch [as Helen Walsh was advised when writing Once Upon a Time in England, so she told us in a talk at Edge Hill], just to help the drafting. I hope I can keep going in the first person vein though, it's so explosive, so vital... And, 'at the end of the day', it's controversial. I don't mean, necessarily, in a social context, but in terms of the reader's individual experience, there are questions that you can have fun with posing [and, indeed, not answering] that, maybe, in third person, you might usually steer clear of.

I love the feel and possibilities of first person tho. A while ago, I turned my back on it because it was my preferred choice, and I was worried I was being 'one-trick pony-ish' and sort of un-literary [not that first person narratives can't be literary, but if an author only had one option, you may feel they weren't developed enough to be considered literary. Maybe... I dunno], so I'd like a chance to revisit it.

Okay, I think that's the flim-flam out the way. Now to come up with some chapter ideas...

And that's indeed what I did, coming up with, at the time of publishing, thirty-three 'chapter ideas'. I don't know what'll become of them all, or which new ones may pop up... I don't really know anything at this point, and it's doubtful whether I'll know any more in time. With that dispiriting finish, I bid you adieu. Good luck if you're NaNoWriMoing and, indeed, good luck if you're not!

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