For the last few days, couple weeks even, I’ve been thinking of writing a blog post about my options on subjects for my NaNoWriMo novel this year. I even thought about counting votes and doing whatever is chosen for me (or not, my writing, my whim). But October got away from me, as it usually does, in a whirlwind of exhaustion and laziness. I sat down yesterday, Halloween, and thought, “I have no idea what I’m going to write.”
I thought the same thing this morning as I went to work. And much the same thing as I drove home from work. I had not yet decided. This wasn’t from lack of ideas, but an abundance of them. I had at least four different ideas in my head that had been thought through enough that I might be able to work through a novel with them.
The first year I did NaNoWriMo, I did a story I’d had in my head since college, about a character named Grey Anastas. I’ve been working on editing that one, but so many more thoughts enter my head as I try that I feel I simply have too many ideas. I find it difficult to pick.
Hmm, indecisiveness is an unexpected theme here. Good therapy, blogging.
Last year, my second, I wrote about Ethne, a crush of Grey’s grown up and moved on. Ethne is an exorcist who knows more vampires than are good for her, and doesn’t particularly feel inclined to banish the ghost in her car. I suppose in my mental chronology, I see her story as fourth, or trilogy adjacent.
I had originally thought last year about doing the direct sequel to Grey’s story, which is about Blythe-And-Bonnie Bailey, known as Bly or Blythe. She appeared in the beginning of Grey’s story and was also a friend of his. She continues the story begun in Kindling, though Grey doesn’t appear in her story, (that I know of). For whatever reason, however, the Ethne story was louder in my head at the time and I chose to try to get my ideas down.
So, this year, I considered doing Blythe’s story. I also considered skipping it in the mental trilogy and going on to Michael’s story. Michael was Grey’s roommate and he becomes a Garde, sort of the magical police in a way. That story came almost entirely from a catalog I saw where they talked about the “thin purple line” in magic, and I saw it in my head as a “thin blue line” reference to police. I thought it was funny and it stuck.
My third thought was a romance novel. It would be fun, silly to write, and something quite different from what I’ve been doing. I like reading trashy historical romances, and am confident I could spit one out in a month, so long as I didn’t make it so detail heavy I needed to research anything. There wasn’t much plot in my idea, just smut and drama, so I didn’t think I’d have to know much except how to unhook a corset.
My fourth idea is again something that has been germinating for a long time. I dreamt once about a girl in a group of older teens that were hiding from bad guys. In my dream it was like some army base had been taken over by Cuba or something and so the army kids grouped together with the intent of taking it back. In the dream there was much running from trucks with searchlights, breaking into a building for munitions, and a quite memorable kiss with a boy who gets captured.
I wrote a rather lame story to this effect perhaps in college and entered into a contest (which I by no means came close to winning). However, if I would do this story now, it would have zombies, a slapstick kinda guy who reads zombie books stolen from a decrepit bookstore for tips, a somewhat defensible home in a subway station, and a government radio station that tries to convince my characters they won’t kill them if they just surrender themselves.
That one was actually a real strong contender.
I’ve ended up with Blythe’s story, since when I sat down to write today after dinner, one of her scenes was what was strong in my head. I have another idea for tomorrow, but I will have to take advantage of the silence in my head to plan out what I’m going to do with Bly after that. I have a general idea of her story, a process, but no outline and no planned plot points. So, in effect, I’m terrified.
One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I like to work from an outline, like to have things planned out for the next day and the next. However, I hate to write that outline. Yikes. And the past few weeks of indecision and exhaustion has kept me from going through my notebooks for all the things I’ve already written or notes I’ve jotted down for just this moment.
The scene I wrote today surprised me. It wasn’t one I’d worked on in my head more than today,( and I can mull these things over for years), and it gave different depth to a recurring character from the series that I didn’t expect. So I hope there will be more of those sorts of surprising scenes. 29 of them, maybe.
I should take the advantage of the typing sounds in my head and try to plan out some more days worth of writing so I don’t get stuck and have to catch up continually this year.
As it is, I’m slightly ahead: 2142 words for today, plus the thousand or so of this blog which don’t count. It’s funny how much more easily self-indulgent words flow. Used up the battery on the laptop, mostly. Ta, til tomorrow.