Preparing for NaNoWriMo Year 5
This year will be my fifth year participating in the National Novel Writer’s Month (or, NaNoWriMo). Much like the previous years, I have grand plans for what I am looking to do with my project, though I know that this is probably the one that I would not even try to get published. It has nothing to do with the quality of the project. Lets face it, anyone who has done NaNoWriMo knows that whatever is written in November is a first draft… at best. In the case of this year’s project, what I’m looking to write makes a lot of pop culture references… A LOT.
In previous years, the amount of pop culture references were not al that prevalent. Oh, they were there, I can’t deny that. it is just how I write (especially when I need to bulk up a word count). This one, however, is hyper filled with pop culture references, from objects, to places to even people. One of the characters is L.L. Cool J… sort of. Naturally, I plan on making a ton of references to his songs. I also plan on references toys lines, old cereals, obscure candy, even television shows. At this moment, I even plan on an appearance by author Craig Shaw Gardner. The shear amount of pop culture references would probably lead to years of clearing permissions to use all of them without any sort of legal issues.
This year’s idea actually spawned from a dream I had. I don’t remember a lot of my dreams (except the pork chop dream, which really sticks with me because of how odd it was), but the ones I do remember seems to lead themselves to good ideas. That is unless they seemed to be inspired by something I had watched or read (I had a Day of the Triffids type dream once). From that dream is started to grow into a semblance of an idea, one I kept in the back of my mind knowing that November was approaching.
This is not unusual. My four previous NaNoWriMo projects all grew from an idea, or a fragment of an idea that I had either scribbled down somewhere or floating in the back of my mind.
My first NaNoWriMo project centered around a character I had been working on since college. This character, who was more or less a super hero, was even the subject of my senior thesis, an original radio drama. Since then, I tried to develop him in some form or another. I tried comics, television series, movies, everything, and nothing seemed to latch. All the while, I kept getting ideas for stories involving this character. Just nothing that worked for an introduction to the character. The strongest of these ideas centered around a scene in which he learns that he has a son he did not know about. Definitely not the place to start a series revolving around the character. But, it was the perfect place to start with a NaNoWriMo project. What developed from this one idea was a Lost like story involving the character’s search for his son. I say Lost like because I used a lot of flashbacks to fill in gaps in the story. None of the flashbacks alluded to an “origin,” but all of them helped to fill in gaps that would have been filled in with previous volumes… had I written them. Surprisingly, in writing this novel, certainly a third or fourth book of a series, I began to get ideas about how to start the series Not really enough to get me started, but more fragments which could lead to something
2008 began not with a real solid idea, but with characters. The characters were all ones I had considered working on in the past, some making it to the page in one form or another, others just rattling around in my head. The characters were a hockey player who had psychic abilities; a young man who was being hunted, though he did not know why; a young woman trapped in playing a game for her life (another dream idea after reading too much H.P. Lovecraft); a werewolf private investigator, and a witch hunter. Tying all these characters together was the idea of a paranormal support group and a mysterious man looking to help people in strange situations. Eventually, the main focus became the hunted man, with a side step into the story behind the young woman’s horrific plight.
2009′s project started with wishful thinking. The idea was supposed to be what I wish had happened to me in the same situation as the main character. That story is actually posted in another blog entry (the password for it has also been posted, too). The problem is that when I started writing about the character, I really could not find any reason why the romantic interest would have anything to do with him. Worse yet, nothing felt right about the story. So, three days into November, I ditched the story and went to a back up idea involving vampires and zombies. It seemed like I through everything into this one, though trying to remember the most important part of a good zombie story: zombies are not the main characters.
Last year’s project was probably the most structured of all my ideas. Well, it was certainly more structured than my fall back story from the year before. Last years project was based on a comic idea I had. The only drawback I had was that though I had envisioned (and written in comic script form) a five issue series, the idea was starting to lose steam early. I needed to bulk up the story somehow. Since the characters were based off comic characters I had created during a massive creation phase (I used to use the Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing Game guides to create random powers for characters and write origins for what was rolled up), I was able to look back on those notes. Using that, I was able to flash out further scenes involving new characters connected to the principle villain, which also helped to flesh out the main characters of my project. It also helped that I stumbled across Hero and Monster by the band Skillet, both of which were able to push me along in the right direction.
I really have not done much of anything with any of these past projects. I tried to start editing last year’s project, but I really could not get into it. I guess I’m better at creating a first draft than I am editing one into a final draft. But the most important part of it is that I had fun with each project, just as I plan of doing with this year’s project.
Though, honestly, I think this one is going to be the most fun out of all of them.
- Preparing for NaNoWriMo: Day 2 (writeontheworld.wordpress.com)
- Just signed up for NaNoWriMo (writeontheworld.wordpress.com)
- Magic Monday: Nerves and NaNoWriMo (eulana.com)
- NaNoWriMo approachs. I might be a little terrified. (lemoncity.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo (writeami.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo 2011 – The Modern Homemakers’ One Stop Blog For Your Writing Tools And Tips (themodernhomemakersnanowrimo2011.wordpress.com)
Posted on October 19, 2011, in NaNoWriMo, Personal, Writing and tagged Craig Shaw Gardner, Marvel Super Heroes, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, November, personal, Protagonist, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.