Friday, 27 October 2017

Changing Plans - NaNoWriMo Plotting with "Ready, Set, Novel!"

Well, plans change. I typically can't stand changing things, especially after saying that I'm going to do one thing and then do another, but since it's nearly November and I was given a wonderful workbook on writing for my recent birthday... I think it's time to fight my ardent dislike of the unexpected, and give myself a kick in the pants, as "Ready, Set, Novel!" has inspired myself to do. Literally. There is a page entirely dedicated to getting a hefty boot in the butt, and one for a high five, too.

The land of "Roses For Margaret" is a bit of a barren wasteland right now in my addled head, and I just can't think of the direction I want to marshal Margaret and co. in. Left or right? Happy or sad? Up or down? Alive, or... dead? Just kidding, nobody will die in that novel, but even so, the idea is rather tempting sometimes (just think of Paul Sheldon in Stephen King's "Misery", who grows to dislike his main heroine after spending so much time chronicling her life).
I don't quite dislike her that much, but her fuzzy lack of direction and the amount of staring contests that I've had with my Scrivener document for the novel, has given me too much irritation to be entirely pleased with the young miss. (Yes, that's right - I'm blaming my character Margaret, and not myself. Charming, aren't I?) I suppose some novels just give the author a lot of grief and prove to be more challenging than the others; I didn't have a very linear frame for RFM, and I dipped in and out of it very infrequently over the course of three/four years, so I think it truly would be worth it to move on to other stories, and come back afresh another time, with a better battle plan.
Or bin it. Binning it sounds good right now... But as my Writer's Workbook by the NaNoWriMo authors says, sometimes you will be in love with your novel, and sometimes you'll just want to rip it to shreds - but some time you will fall back in love with it. I'm hoping that will be the case in a year or so.

But a new idea has come to me, and I think it may be a good one, as I'm already besotted with the main characters and have a good timeline planned out. I just love them so much! I had that kind of love for Aika Rowland and Carrie Knox when I started "When the Summer Ends", so it's exhilarating to get that love for my characters and thrill for writing back!
As I go through the "Ready, Set, Novel!" workbook, I get more and more excited about it each time and so many ideas come flooding in. I stayed up until half two in the morning scribbling away in the book - starting at around seven pm - and was shocked to see how late it was, as I was really engaged! As you can probably tell, writer or not, this kind of excitement for a new story is much more constructive to writing than trying to slug your way through a book you started at fifteen years old, and never quite managed to pin down the characters and plot and whip them into shape.

I can now tell my uptight self that change isn't so bad after all. Maybe, whether you are a fellow Aspie or not, you have had the same problem? It's very easy to get an idea and stick to it no matter how challenging and demotivating the plan is, as I saw with my idea last year to "get Roses For Margaret done, seeing as it's already got about 50,000 words". I didn't want to change or latch onto a new idea, as the thought of it made me very nervous and irritated with myself - but if you're in the same situation, I'd say go for it and try something new! That's how I got my passion for writing and plotting stories back! And it's a wonderful feeling that I very nearly forgot.

As for the new plot itself, I have a lot of it penned down, but I don't think I should reveal too much just yet, as things may be slightly different in a month or so, whether it is a change of name or a new viewpoint. But it's set in 1960's France, predominantly in Paris - so despite going there often, I have a fair bit to research! The basic premise is about a teenage boy wanting freedom, despite having a life that other people would dream of.

I know it's early to start NaNoWriMo now, but I was too excited to wait for planning a week at a time, that I just had to get it all out. The workbook by Chris Baty, Lindsay Grant, and Tavia Stewart-Streit is truly wonderful, I would really recommend it to anyone that wants to write a book, whether it be the first one, or the thirtieth. Not only is the content great, amusing, and thought-provoking, the layout and style is simple but effective and elegant - just perfect!
November will be a month of being chained to my laptop and writing like a slave (I say hopefully). Wish me luck!


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