Yes, it’s early to be planning for National Novel Writing Month, but that’s how I usually do it.
I’ve been nursing a story idea for several years, but not doing much about it. A few notes, a few questions, a few characters’ names. But some stories nag, while others are content to fade into the background and hope their day will come. This one nags. Constantly. And it seems to have been putting down roots in my brain because when I opened it today to make some additions, I found that the plot had developed quite a bit.
So, of two or three possible choices for November’s days of madness, Empire of Masks made the cut as the only possible one. It’s a fantasy of slavery and politics. There will be kidnapping, drug addiction and death, a degenerate emperor, murder (probably), and blowing things up. It will be very, very different from anything I’ve written.
The phase outline is already in progress, and there’s enough material now to start setting up chapters and possibly a formal outline. Itchy fingers are eager to get going, so it’s a good thing there are lots of plot points to be worked out, characters and their relationships to develop, and a world to create from the ground up.
Six and a half months to go, which is great for planning, not so great for the itchy fingers.
Story structure — again.
Obviously, story structure is very much on my mind lately. I’m in the middle of Weiland’s book, but also, as one outcome of cleaning off my computer desktop (cluttered with URLs, folders, texts, etc.)
I’m also reading a tiny book by Rachel Aaron: 2,000 to 10,000, Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. The book includes, and is an offshoot of, her original blog post: How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day. My first reaction, when the post started making the rounds was just what you might imagine. Oh no. Not another speed demon telling everyone that they need to write faster. But it wasn’t like that at all. The post is descriptive, not prescriptive, and the book continues in that vein. It isn’t about writing faster, as such, but about getting rid of the things that slow us down.
She’s a full-time writer, and also a damn fast typist, if her word counts are to be believed. I’m neither. She has contracts and deadlines, and I have neither. The book isn’t “do as I say,” but “figure out what works for you and discard the rest.” Aaron has a sense of humor, and she knows how to lay out the essentials without taking forever. So, having started out poo pooing the idea of writing 10,000 words a day, I have to say that her little book is probably the best $.99 investment I’ve ever made. Short, sweet, straight to the point. I’ll never write 10,000 words a day, but maybe I’ll be able to write more than I usually do. With a new novel coming up in a few months, I’ll have a chance to put it to the test.