Many thanks for the lively and funny comments in emails and on Facebook, as well as here. And for commiserations on the tomatoes — I am going to plant some more cherry tomatoes that with luck will become small bushes covered in tiny sweet juicy fruit. One-third for the sparrow and starlings, two-thirds for me, with the odd loss to snails or sneaky cut-worms.
Who else is doing Nanowrimo? If you want to link up as a writing buddy, please let me know. I am drafting out themes and character motivations and scenes with much pleasure, having put aside the slow WIP for now. WIP means Work in Progress but it is not in progress, it is in stasis. So I am hoping that a new project might galvanise the fiction-writing impulses anew. I have done so much non-fiction this year that my imagination seems to have atrophied.
Here’s Nathan Bransford on Nano Boot Camp for budding writers:
Step 1: What does your protagonist want? It could be to save the world, it could be closure on an especially difficult issue, it could be romance, it could be to finally figure out who the Cylons are no seriously this time. But even better if your protagonist wants more than one thing, and these things could very well be at odds with each other at times. The ultimate, most important thing they want should be achieved (or not achieved) in the climax.
Step 2: What is standing in your protagonist’s way? Obstacles reveal the true personality of a character. Are they ingenious? Stubborn? Clever? The way someone deals with conflict and adversity shows a great deal about their true character. Placing roadblocks in front of your characters at (nearly) every opportunity will show you and the reader who they really are. The biggest obstacle in their way should be faced in the climax.
Step 3: What do they value the most? Your protagonist should be in conflict not just with the world, but also within themselves. The battles and travails along the way should reveal the things that they care most about and their true qualities. Best of all, they should have to give up something important in order to get the thing they want the most.
Best of luck to everyone setting out on a writing project in November — the forums are fun and writing buddies are best friends forever, but you will be surprised at what emerges if you sit down and write at least 2000 words each day. It might not be publishable, it might be doggerel, but it may be surprising. Creative writing is a good way to get to know oneself and the preoccupations and stories lurking under the surface.
Owing to work pressures, I doubt I’ll get a novel finished by the end of November (the goal of Nanowrimo). But I may get a short story or two completed, or even a novella. And I will have the opportunity to read many other novels in draft and know I am not alone when I sit down at my desk each morning.