About two weeks ago, I realized how close we were to November and started to panic. What on earth was I going to write for NaNoWriMo? Even when I was more a pantser than a plotter, I always liked to at least know my main character and have a vague notion of the story she inhabited before I started writing. Until recently, I’ve had nothing for this year’s novel. I’ve been so absorbed in editing that I haven’t given much thought to other stories.
For months I’ve been chasing several plots about my brain (the one I’m scared of; a Rapunzel retelling where Rapunzel can see the future; a re-write of an old, rather ugly but promising superhero story; a tie-in story for my current WIP…). I wanted something different, something kind of moody, to challenge myself (as if Rapunzel running from secret agents and trying not to make visions of her own dead body come true isn’t challenging).
Naturally, I took to Tumblr for inspiration once the first wave of panic started to subside. The smallest things – quotes, pictures, one-sentence prompts – can trigger plot bunnies in my brain, and I save everything that intrigues me; as well as many useful writing tips and resources. Those prompts and images and quotes brought to mind other ideas I’ve had floating in the back corners of my brain, things I’d read, and sets I’d created on Polyvore during my brief obsession with that site.
Sometimes I wish there was a way to show people just how a writer comes up with ideas. Then I realized it would be far too difficult to explain. Some of these bits of inspiration have been ruminating for years and I couldn’t tell you how they started.
One day I’ll get a printer of my own and be able to assemble actual mood/inspiration boards, which will probably give me a mini-stroke of delight.
Some of the elements I’ve compiled for NaNo 2016:
- a story in pictures I created on Polyvore about a girl who wakes up in a strange world and is taken in by an evil queen who tricks her
- a quote prompt from Tumblr
- an old idea I’ve tossed around (and attempted to use twice) of an amnesiac waking up in the wilderness with markings on their hands and/or face
- a story I read about a Viking skald who had a pet raven that sat on her shoulder while she told stories
- ^ Mischief the raven from my “This Week I Googled” post
- elements of the plot from The Story I’m Terrified to Write (little ideas and concepts, not major plot points)
- lots of moody pictures of gray forests and wolves and fur cloaks
- elements from a very old story with an empath
- a castle from a story I never took beyond the development stages
- a vague notion I’ve been toying with about the significance behind the theory that the sky is not blue (more on that later)
- some new soundtracks
All thrown together, I’m starting to get a sense of this story, even if I have no idea yet about what the conflict is.
Look at me, Calli! I have a plan now!
Next Monday is the system upgrade at nanowrimo.org, which is when people can start entering information for their new stories. As of this Saturday, I have a month to figure out my setting, the mechanics of the world and its ruling powers, the main conflict, the rest of the cast, and the ending. Thankfully, NaNoWriMo’s NaNo Prep section is full of useful resources.
Did I mention my main character is an amnesiac? I don’t know what it is with me and nameless characters.
My goal this year is to try and let the storytelling be a little more organic: to not need a special meaning behind every name, to not have every element worked out beforehand, and to let the first draft be a rough draft without complaint.
The link to my NaNoWriMo account is still up under the “You Can Also Find Phoebe On…” tab at the top. Feel free to hop over there and follow my (lack of) progress. Also, as with last year, I’ll update on this blog as I go.
This year will be a little different than last. First of all, I’d like to actually finish the book (I got about halfway through last year’s project and haven’t touched it since, unfortunately). I have a new laptop that’s decidedly more trustworthy than my last one, which will ease a little of my stress over losing words. I do not have an elaborate reward system in place, considering I’m supposed to be surviving off of half of my income until spring so I can get a decent car (though I may splurge for one more month of Spotify to get me through). And lastly, I have a job this year, which means I really have to work on my sleep schedule so I have time to write.
Also, you know, I checked out 8 books from the library last week, have three more in transit from other libraries, and have three on my “currently reading” list.
October is going to be interesting.