Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Prepping for National Novel Writing Month

Nano looms. It feels good - not like a black cloud loom, more like anticipation for a journey. Even having nanoed ten times before, I know this will be a new journey. Another pioneering experience. And I should at least do a little ‘packing’.
In preparation I’ve cleared the clutter, moved my desk and given it a bit of a polish. I now have a view of the woods behind the house and I know the view will change daily through November. If I am at a loss, I can always describe this view. Can't I? Of course I can, it's my novel, my nano after all.
What else do I have in readiness for this mental as well as physical trip? Not much. I have my protagonist. And I have an entry form for a beauty contest.  Is that enough to weave a tale? I wonder.

So just to make it feel more real I’ve built a cover.  ‘Woah,’ I hear you cry, ‘is that not putting the cart before the horse?’  Maybe, but at least it feels more real. I know I have to put something between the covers. A story. A tale. It’s motivating. It’s exciting.
Two weeks ago I received a lovely packet in the mail.  It came from Louise Penny’s publishers. It is a lovely black and white sketch map of Three Pines. The setting for Ms Penny’s Gamache novels. I had it beside me when I read her latest novel, The Nature of the Beast. Wowzer. Did it make a difference? Not to the quality of her writing, that is without doubt superb. Always. But it took me closer to that place. The setting. It became even more real.

I once (a very long time ago) did a workshop at The Cheltenham Literature Festival with Barbara Trapido. The workshop was called ‘Writing Your Life’ and one exercise the South African author suggested to the forty or so participants, was to draw a place. Somewhere from childhood. The results were startling. People said that the more they drew, the more they could remember. We then placed our young selves in these places with words. The results were astounding.
And so I am readyish. I know I need a great setting or even two. I am gung ho to sketch out a few maps for my nano novel this year. Somewhere for my characters to live, to go about their business, to fall in and out of love. Somewhere for my protagonist, Eva, to grow and deal with the years we will travel together .
I also need to research the history of beauty contests! Wish me luck.

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