NOTE: Largely thanks to the IWSG, I have amazing writers leaving comments on my posts. I LOVE THAT. However, there have been a few whispers from non-writers who feel unsure about commenting, since they don't write. Well, don' worry aboudit. Seriously, this blog is for readers as well as writers. Writers read, but so do lots of other people. At least, I hope so, despite the grim gloom-and-doom research about Americans' growing lack of interest in literature. Which is just a long-winded (of course; this is me, here) way of saying that all readers' comments are more than welcome!
A while back, I mentioned that while I've been editing and polishing Cloudland, I've also been working on my second novel. Now, at the time, that may have been true. At this point (to borrow from Star Trek VI), that's either an omission, an error, or a choice... or ok FINE, Spock. It's a lie.
I didn't intend for that to be the case. The thing is, editing and getting ready to query agents are just a wee bit of a time-suck, not to mention a truly all-engrossing head-space. So, I'm going to use this blog this week to help me get back into developing this new idea. It's a group effort now. Thanks, everyone!!
This new novel a bit past the seed stage, thankfully...but not by much. It's a seed-ling. It has little shoots and maybe a couple of bitty green sprouts that are rapidly shriveling and turning brown because I keep forgetting to water them.
What is it? Well, the original seed was that I wanted to write about the intersection of fear, desire, and faith, and (because I love the genre), I wanted it to be more fully magical realism than I managed with Cloudland, which really turned out to be literary fiction with some fantastical stuff mixed in (and yes, for all non-writers, that classification in particular has always seemed snobby to me, too, but it's widely accepted in the publishing world. So I have to use it and I just hold my nose when I do.)
I decided that I wanted gods and magic in this new novel, and - because really, how better to talk about fear, desire, and faith? - I wanted to involve religion and spirituality.
Right now, because I seem to be a masochist, my idea is to have the two main characters in this book be souls with innumerable lives and experiences, instead of normal, reliable, easier-to-write people with one solid story each. I have this thought of having the book follow them from life to life, in the form of short or even flash fiction style stories, so that the plot progresses as they succeed or fail in each life.
I have the beginning character analyses for these two souls (and let me tell you, it is challenging to write a psychological analysis for a soul. I mean, do souls go to therapy??), and I have a few settings I know I want to explore, which at this point revolve around love affairs. You know, desire and fear and all that. I've got ideas for a love affair between a Greek god and a mortal in Ancient Greece, a la Mary Renault; a Hindi goddess and a modern atheist; and a Christian reverend and a secular scientist. I also have ideas for two young brothers, a recurring encounter (NOT a creepy one) between a man and a dog, and a story about a young female shaman-ish character and a hunter from a different region (occuring pre-Columbus).
And that's about it. Not really a plot yet, eh? A ton of work yet to do, eh?? (Am I Canadian now, eh?) So I have this equally masochistic thought that to get a jump start on this damn thing, maybe I should participate in NaNoWriMo this year. NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month, is, to quote their website, "a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30."
Yeah. That means I'd need to have an outline by November 1st. Or at least a rough sketch of one.
Is this even possible?? I have no idea. Historically, outlines take me forever. I still don't even know the damn story, yet. I mean, two souls, magic and fear and stuff, OK, all well and good, but what happens? How do they change, grow, fail, succeed?
So this is what I'm wrestling with.
It seems like it might be a good idea, and that it might speed my rather slow process up... but it also seems CRAZY.
To NaNoWriMo, or not to NaNoWriMo? That is definitely today's question.