Here I am, having moved (again!) to my original flat after roughly ten months of living in temporary flats. How wonderful it is to have a stable home again.
For some reason, my books have bred like bunnies, however, and I was forced to make room for them on another makeshift shelf. If only there was some way to neuter my purse.
Anyway one unpacking, cleaning and vacuum later, and my bedroom is decent again. Which brings me to November.
For over a week I wondered how I was going to commit to NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – when I haven’t fully finished Malaysian Dark yet. With one week left to October, I had to:
- Pack and move house
- Finish up loose ends at the bookshop job (like baking farewell beer brownies for the colleagues, twice, after certain misadventures with the Evil Oven of Temp Flat #2)
- Play this new tabletop RPG game, Anima, I’d been eager to try out with friends;
- And somehow finish that novel.
I can see it – the ending of Malaysian Dark – so clearly. I’m almost there. I just need to bridge the gap between the Chapter where the Hero is Horribly Traumatised, and the Chapter where Revelation Hits, which would hurtle me towards the ending I’ve already written. I tried to finish by the end of October, but it’s been a struggle.
And then it hit me. Why not do both? Write both for NaNoWriMo AND finish the novel in November too? I had some time, now that the bookshop job was finished. Sure, I had some commitments with the charity shop volunteering, and a possible mail sorter job later this month…
1,700 words a day + 1,000?
So yes, I decided to do both. NaNoWri by day, novel by night.
I am taking precautions. I have appointed my new fuzzy headwear, the Blessed Hat of Productivity +5, so that whenever I don this holy cap of authorship, I shall be afire with the need to ejaculate as many words onto the screen as possible. I shall wear it chanting the mantras of NaNoWriMo:
- Quantity, not Quality.
- The Backspace Key is Thine Enemy.
- Announce your Commitment to the World, so that the World may Mocketh thee if Thou Dost Not Finish;
- Neglect all Social Commitments, but thou art allowed to findeth out what happened to thine Thief left Abandoned on that damn beach in Anima–
Okay, so I made that last up. Hey, I need to reward myself somehow!
I even have a writing buddy, one I have shamelessly egged into doing it, and we are both excited. We drew up our Magna Cartas, and Evil Magna Cartas, as suggested by Chris Baty in his wonderful book No Plot? No Problem!
My story will be, oddly enough, a Youth Adult novel, something I’ve never written before. I have enjoyed Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series, and Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books in the past, however. Here’s my Magna Carta list of what I would love to see in a/my novel:
- Bookshops (this whole premise was inspired by my bookshop job)
- Travelling, dimension hopping
- A young protagonist with a sensible head on his/her shoulders
- Magic – unique powers
- Characters who survive great hardships or abusive backgrounds, overcome a flaw/disadvantage
- Plot twists
- Awesome villains – does not think they’re evil
- Drama with a sense of humour
- Books with grandiose titles
- Tyrannical employers
- Unexpected/thwarted romances – young, gay, sweet, subtle and awkward?
- Good to bittersweet endings
- Elaborate, intricate worlds that I would love to explore – sense of wonder
- Pretzels, candy, chocolate – Very Important
- Angels, dragons, demons, unicorns – Very Important
And here is my Evil Magna Carta, things I dislike in a/my novel:
- Yet another vampire character – unless something different about it
- Silly and nonsensical settings
- Ditzy women
- Pretentious writing
- Characters who do (dumb) things that make no sense
- Scenes that demean gay/bisexual chars
- Characters who do long soliloquies aloud, or in their heads
- Overly scifi or ‘lifeless’ settings – I want worlds that breathe
- Too many strange events or settings that alienate readers – strange for the sake of being strange
- Too many viewpoints that make it hard for readers to care
- Contemporary settings – unless it is different/unique enough
- Trite or convenient deus ex machina
- Characters who brood/angst overly much – Get over yourself!
- Too many adverbs
- Clumsy info dumps – “As you know, Jim, we are three hundred years old and secretly blue”
Mind you I wrote these while half asleep, but it will do. Right then. No more dithering. On to Day One of NaNoWriMo! Wish me luck and sanity!
Hmmm, I suppose I should think about a character and plot, huh?
By the Way
My lesbian erotica shapeshifter story was accepted for the anthology Beastly Babes (now called She-Shifters). I am so relieved. The ‘race through a rain forest morphing from tiger to kingfisher’ part refers to my story!
It’s another step, at least. Must keep writing, must keep sending out there.