The totally honest and pointless adventures of an NaNoWriMo effort: Day 1

Day 1: 25 October 2013

(c) NaNoWriMo
(c) NaNoWriMo

So I figured I’d need to do some prep work. I’d signed up to NaNoWriMo 2013 with no idea what to do. Not strictly true. I’m working on a short story at the moment which is set to become part of a collection, called Monsters. However, due to a lot of other writing commitments, and work of course, this has been on a bit of a back-burner. I have no idea why I signed up, as I’m almost certain I won’t have the time to write 50,000 words in November. But I’ve already started Monsters and I want to take my time over it and it will be way longer than 50,000 words anyway, so that wasn’t the path to follow.

Once I signed up, I started mulling over the kind of thing that would work without that much preparation and without that much time given over to it. I kept thinking of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, and to a lesser extent, of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. These are both short but highly effective works of fiction. Simple stories with a deeper meaning using beautiful language.

Stop right there! No, I’m not at all thinking I can write anything like those two wonderful books. But what I can do is write a short, creepy, affecting novel. At least I hope I can.

I have a first line buzzing in my head – which to be honest, is one that’ been there a while, and I might have even used it before in an abortive attempt to write something else. But I like it and I’m going to use it.

Luckily, I was off work yesterday (Fri 25 Oct) so I took myself and my notebook off to my favourite cafe to plot and plan over an awesome cooked breakfast and refills of coffee – yes I know I’m living the cliche. Get over it. I’m now typing with jazz music in the background. Live with it already.

When I was walking to the cafe I saw a woman in the street waving goodbye to someone. I couldn’t see who she was waving to. So that was my opening scene, writing itself. I decided to divert from the cafe for half an hour to walk along the beach. I had to procrastinate. What was in my head?

Being a big fan of Twitter has its downsides. Everyone knows Twitter is a place for ranting and rowing, trolls and Twitterstorms (is that in the dictionary yet? Should be). But what I find anyone more than anything is that people presume to speak for one group or another. Just because you’re a famous open-rights campaigner or feminist, your opinion doesn’t mean the same as someone elses. And more importantly, your opinion isn’t fact. Even if your one of the biggest and/or most respected voices in your shouting arena. No-one speaks for me. No-one has the right and no-one should have that presumption. But people do. If I say I like a book and you like the same book, it doesn’t give you the right to think you know me.

So, there is a theme and an opening scene. By now I was in the cafe and the breakfast was ordered. It was a particularly warm autumn day and the cafe was full, so I took the only vacant table and tried to cool myself

down for a second. I thumbed through my notebook at previous ideas and

lines I’ve had. I then wrote down ‘The Inherent Loneliness of the Human Mind’

     AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by sutti

AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by sutti

and the word ‘horror’. And I was off. A couple of pages later and I have a rough plot, a couple of opening scenes, some subtext and a potential ending to aim towards.

Now I’ve got other stuff to do but I’ve now got just a few days to come up with some characters and names. And then, who knows…


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