NaNoWriMo brings out the Han Solo in me.

Posted: October 11, 2009 in Books, NaNoWriMo
Tags: , ,

That is, once a year, I “have a bad feeling about this.”                         nanowrimo_icon

As usual, there are four or five stories in my head that need writing. As usual, it’s perfectly clear which two of those will yield a final product worth my time. As usual, it’s also clear which one of the two would be most beneficial to myself and humanity. And as usual, I want to write the unworthy, unbeneficial option I’ve called “Project Opposite of Twilight with Robots Instead of Vampires.”

The book that I should write this year would be a memoir of my experiences in India. I would be able to use this for my memoir class and use the time I set aside for that class to work on it. It’s the only topic I believe I can write a memoir on, because it’s the only area of my life that’s changed enough for me to offer meaningful reflection on it. It would make too much sense to write this book during November.

The other book that I could write and rationalize pouring my time into it would be the second rewrite of my science fiction novel. It would count as a NaNo novel because I intend to keep nothing from the first draft. I tried to edit it last March for NaNoEdMo and discovered in the process of thinking “What is this really about? What are the true conflicts here?” that I seem to have missed everything that I truly meant to say. The story, while full of brilliant characters and a noble quest, is not the story I meant to write. It’s strange, but my characters have a much bigger story than what I’ve written for them. However, I’m reluctant to write this because I question how good of  a job I could do on it with all of the writing required for my memoir class at the same time.

So, why am I not taking the path of least resistance? I think it’s because November is my month of escapism. The year I wrote a novel for a novel class didn’t go so well. Instead of using NaNoWriMo to procrastinate everything else in my life, I procrastinated NaNoWriMo. It was for a class. The magic of willingly throwing time I do not have into a book diminshed.

For me, it’s also about escaping to a new world that I make up as I go along. Meeting new people that are products of my imagination and seeing what they do. I wrote a travelogue several years ago for NaNoWriMo, and while it was the easiest November I’ve ever had because I didn’t have to pause to make things up, it was also the most boring. I don’t want to write about myself during November. November is the month of diving into uncharted territory.

And so, for the next few short weeks, I’ll continue to have a bad feeling about November and every book idea I have. I’ll flit between them, feeling queasy, until midnight of October 31st rolls around and I start whichever one has the most favor with my brain at that moment. Wish me luck.

  1. mnemehoshiko says:

    Random question, do you plot and outline before Nanowrimo or during?
    I’ve managed to fail twice thus and am attempting to break the cycle (or atleast get halfway through…)

    • Raina Khatri says:

      I’ve done this several ways now. My first book I plotted out chapter by chapter during October, complete with character profiles and everything. My first book was also my worst book.

      What usually happens is I go into the month with a few scenes in mind between characters I kind of know, and see what they do from there. But it completely depends on the project. If I decide to rewrite my sci-fi novel, I’d better get plotting now, because after all this time it’s been percolating in my head I finally have a coherent plot. If I do the Robot Romance, however, I probably won’t do much planning in advance.

      If you don’t have a set project in mind, I would just come up with some interesting characters and some sort of conflict and jump into it. Maybe I’m completely insane, but my books tend to write themselves if I have good characters.

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