Ready, Set, Write!

🎵 It’s the most wonderful time of the year… 🎶

No, not Christmas—NaNoWriMo! Come November 1st, writers all over the world will bend to their keyboards in an attempt to conjure 50,000 words out of thin air before midnight on November 30th. 

It is crazy and frustrating and hilarious and exhausting and possibly the most fun I’ve ever had as a writer, and this year I’m going to do it again. Unfortunately, though, I don’t yet have a clue what I’m going to write. 

I know I’m not alone. Every year, thousands of “pantsers” (so called because they write by the seat of their pants) embark on this challenge with gusto. But that’s not who I am as a writer. Or at least it never has been before.

Usually by this time, five days from the starting line, I’d have an extensive outline of my plot, character profiles, and the first chapter all but written in my head. 

I have bupkis. No outline, no characters, not even the ghost of an idea yet. It’s not a comfortable feeling.

I’m partly blocked, I think, by the fact that I haven’t yet finished the first draft of The Cat Price. Some spark inside me balks at starting something new when this big, unfinished, almost-there project is still sitting on my desk. That spark wants me to finish the final lap of my novel, even though it isn’t in the true spirit of NaNoWriMo, which is to write 50K words on a completely new and original work.

So here I sit in the dining room of MOD pizza, my tablet on and my notebook open, waiting for lightning to strike and gift me with a story idea I can get excited about before our regional NaNo kickoff on Saturday.

Come on, lightning!

At our NaNoWriMo planning meeting a couple of weeks ago, I kicked around the idea of doing a fairy tale retelling, but, although I enjoyed rereading several old fairy tales, nothing ever really jelled.

Maybe instead of a novel, I should do a series of connected short stories, similar to the stories in World War Z, where they are all set in the same world and joined together by some external conceit. That’s an interesting idea. I’ll have to think about it. But what fictional world would lend itself to this? Zombie apocalypse has been done to death, but perhaps some other kind of apocalypse or distopia would work.

Aliens? Worldwide power grid collapse? Alternate world history? 

Let me have it, muse!


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