So, this year's NaNoWriMo's going to be a little different to the other years. (For the record, I've attempted three times: won in 2006 and 2007 and bowed out for health reasons 2008.)
For one thing, it's 7 years since I've attempted NaNoWriMo. I've never attempted it with children. For another, I've been absolutely flat out getting ready for a birthday party and a family holiday and sorting out my way-too-complicated tax return right up to the deadline. I'm exhausted and drained, I've hardly been sleeping, we're spending the first week of November away at the coast (which is technically a holiday, but given we have brought our small people along with us and need to do such things as prevent them from drowning or destroying the non-child-proofed apartment in which they won't do such things as nap or sleep through, it is at best a working holiday) And I've had no time to do no prep of things like freezer meals or plot development like I've done every previous attempt--although at least I've managed to get my latest anxiety episode mostly under control again, which is possibly the most useful preparation I could have done. And last night I came down with awful full body aches/fever/chills and slept (thanks to Hubby hustling the kids out of our holiday apartment when they woke up at the arse-crack of dawn) for ten hours straight. I'm diagnosing Woman-Flu--the one where you've worked your way through illness to the point where you actually physically collapse. I think I'm starting to feel a bit better this afternoon, although possibly that's just the sitting still and writing rather than running around after kids. Also, my computer has been having major annoying issues for the last few months and has desperately needed a reinstall, which I finally got around to doing yesterday. Unfortunately, I did not get around to reloading any of my applications or files, and now we're on holiday and all my files and installation exes are sitting safe with my reliable internet connection on a data brick back at home, so I've been trying to get scrivener and dropbox downloaded and working over a spotty cellular data connection tethered to my mobile phone and it's all just... erg. Hello notepad!
In any case, my novel!
I haven't had much time to think about what I'll be writing in the leadup to November, but there were a few things that I wanted to do. First, I wanted to write something lighter, more humorous. Which is the third thing which will be substantially different with this year's NaNo. Left to its own devices, my muse will write tense and angsty drama. Which I like, sure. But I feel like it's been getting a bit samey. And as for what I prefer to read, what makes me feel good, and what makes my readers feel good... that tends to be humour with soul. So let's give that a go, eh? The soul will turn up on its own into my writing, it's the humour that I have to set myself up for. I've been getting surprisingly good reactions to my short humourous pieces, but this will be interesting.
Other things I like in a story are an unreliable autistic/oblivious to social norms narrators, time travel/redo stories, a conclusions with a twist where everything comes together, focus on family/non-sexual relationships, multi-level conversations, late context which comes out gradually and changes your perspective on things that have already happened, and too-extraordinary-to-be- ordinarily-functional characters.
My novel concept will actually be able to work in quite a few of these--it looks like it's going to be an idea I had a while ago, which kind of I wrote up as a fanfic test piece during JWP (Finding an Anchor) to try it out, which was fun and went down very well. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure of very much about who my main characters are in this story. Or what they want. I keep changing my mind on what gender they are, or how they know each other. I think I've just decided the names I'd worked out are completely wrong, too. Which is so very me but very much not the best way to start.
One of the things I've been thinking about going in, is about making snap decisions and rolling with them. I agonise so much over arbitrary choices that just don't matter--they're the hardest things for me, because anything that has a plot-related reason, but filling out details that don't have a purpose is just infuriatingly difficult. I want to get it right, and there's no right answers. But the thing is, I can always go back and change things. I can always edit choices if I think of something better. And more than that, the reality is that I can make any combination of elements great--it's the writing that makes it happen, because my writer's brain will not be satisfied with mediocre and will work until whatever it's got to work with shines. I actually work way better with more constraints than with something open-ended. I think that's my biggest problem with original fiction--it's too undirected and I can't make decisions. So really, what I need to do is pick something, anything, and move on. If it doesn't fit, I can change it then--or find a way to work with it. What I can't afford to do, if I'm going to finish, is waste time trying to make decisions that I don't have the information to know if they matter.
For some reason, I've been writing the opening scene, which is not at all my style to start with, but it's the most vivid thing in my mind. One of my characters is living in a treehouse, skulling vodka and trying not to acknowledge that the other has climbed up 60 feet and is banging on the trapdoor trying to be let in.
There's words coming. 1,149 of them today, which is a start. And at least some of them are the right ones. NaNo 2016... let's see where this one goes.