Monday, October 30, 2006

NaNoWriMo Planning & Plotting

Coming up with story ideas can burn some serious calories. During the last week I've dedicated my lunches and evenings to concentrated bouts of brainstorming which have often resulted in cracking headaches. An accompanying bottle of Tooheys Extra Dry Platinum can also be blamed, but firing all my synapses at once is an intense experience.

Hemingway said that a writer should guard his writing carefully, but I'll break his rule and share some of my work so far.

Character names I've come up with include: Jules Nolan, Walter Fitch, Mick Riley, Reggie Cooper, Louise Cooper, Anaru 'Ernie' Tominga, Edward De Gracy, Frank Dalton, and Patrick Ellis. I have trouble imagining a character without a suitable name attached, but once it is, I have a feel for them without even describing what they look like.

This next novel of mine is much more serious and far more ambitious than my previous effort (which I do plan to finish one of these days, if only for the experience). I have some broad plot points with a few scenes sorted out, but I'm crossing my fingers in the possibly mistaken hope that my story is somewhat modular. The reason is that there are two stories running in parallel: one set around 1910, the other in the present day, in Sydney and Melbourne. The scenes in the past are semi-flashbacks that the main character (Jules Nolan) experiences through the viewpoint of someone from the past (Patrick Ellis).

The link between the two timelines is a supernatural one, and I'm going to work very hard to make sure it's an integral part of the story. I've only written some flash fiction that used supernatural elements in the past, so that part of my novel is going to be quite a challenge. I can't say I've read a lot of horror in my time, but I think I have enough of an understanding of the use of fear to pull it off.

The plot will still revolve around crime as I'm drawing inspiration from the underworld 'wars' of Melbourne in the late 90s, as well as an exhibition of police photographs from early 20th century Sydney.

If for some strange reason you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, pop over here to find out. If you don't like clicking, I'll give it to you right now: the goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, the month being November 2006. I've installed a counter in the sidebar where you can track my progress, and I'll possibly post up excerpts that you can read by clicking on the thermometer. Writing involves a fair amount of procrastination, so expect semi-regular reports on my efforts.

Wish me luck!


JT Ellison said...

Best of luck, Daniel. It's a lot of fun.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm with you Daniel - I have a hard time working with characters without names in place. And speaking for experience, the need to change a name after writing a draft of a manuscript is brutal.

I'm excited for everyone participating. I think it's great motivation to make this a concentrated effort and I look forward to seeing the progress.

Aldo said...

I'm in; gonna try it again. I did 35,000 words last year while working full time. This year I want try having a support buddy for encouragement. I have my outline ready to go....Good luck with yours.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Thanks guys. I'm excited and scared shitless at the same time.

Aldo, my user name's dannyhawaii. Let's buddy up!

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Well, goddamn. That's more than I had the first time I did it. I think my outline was something like, "There's this guy... and he does... stuff?"

How I got 50K out of that, I'll never know.

Daniel Hatadi said...

I know, it's dorky and all, but I really need to outline this one. It just won't flow right if I don't. And it's not my first novel so I'm not as green.

Get that bottle ready, Stephen. Thrillerfest awaits.

anne frasier said...

best of luck to all of you.

your idea sounds exciting, daniel.

stephen, i use that description after a book is done. there's a guy...and he lives in this place...and he does stuff.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Thanks, Anne. Since your's is the last book I've read before NaNo begins, I'm hoping I won't plagiarise PALE IMMORTAL too much. ;)

angie said...

Sounds fascinating, Daniel. And ambitious! You've definitely done more prep for NaNo than I have... I mean, damn! I've got some names, the premise/general situation, but that's about as far as I've gotten.

Starting to get excited & a little freaked - still need to pick up my stash o' choc. covered espresso beans!

white ibis said...

Hey Daniel, it's been a while... but good luck - you sound very organised. After not entering last year this year I signed up early (username jarvil)and I'm ready (minus plot,characters, premise, genre etc) but otherwise good to go.
Just got to write a play first by Nov. 3rd so day one and two will be very sketchy!!

Daniel Hatadi said...

Angie, chocolate espresso beans are starting to sound like THE NaNoWriMo fuel. Must get some.

Aldo, you cunningly named your profile 'Aldo' which I figured out all by myself. You're on the list.

And Ms. Ibis, lovely to have you join the crew! I've added you to my buddy list.

Good luck and caffeine to us all!

Sandra Ruttan said...

So, since it's already tomorrow does that mean you get to start early and work late?

Daniel Hatadi said...

More like start early and finish early. :O

See the next post for more. :)