Category Archives: Nanowrimo

Visions have crashed over my planned plot


It is really frustrating. I’ve been working on a story for Nano, because I decided that I need to be more methodical in my planning. I tend to ramble, and I was hoping to rein this in. So, the planning process was going well. I still had some more research I wanted to do, but I had the bones of the story mapped and was starting to flesh it out. But gradually, this other story has been creeping in. A dystopian is forming, and it is taking up all my thoughts. I am not thinking about a YA urban fantasy, but a dystopian with a raw character, and an out of control landscape. I see civilisation being reclaimed by nature, a nature which has been evolving, vaguely tainted by something which occurred in the past. The problem is, this story idea is half formed. I can see the landscape and the rag-tag people who populate it, but I don’t know what the plot is. I have no main character, I have no grand scheme. I just have the world in which it occurs building itself away in my mind, and blotting out the story that went before it. I suddenly have no passion for the previous story. I am sure it was a good idea, but I don’t want to write it now. It is in black and white, and the new story is in colour.Glorious, dreary colour. I am thinking washed out skies, faded browns, rich but tarnished greens, and glorious electrical storms. Even now, I can feel the fury and the awesome magnitude of storms ripping across the landscape, bowing before it everything which dare stands in its way.

How can I write a nearly formed boring urban fantasy when an epic landscape of potential is taking up all my attention? I don’t even know what will happen with this story, who is in it, where it takes place. I know nothing of the people who inhabit it, nor if they are peaceful or martial, desperate or content. All I can envision is this amazingly raw landscape in which it takes place, and the potential it holds for me.

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Planning Nano: a synopsis and working title

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I was really starting to despair. I would sit down to write a synopsis for my novel, and instead I would write a passage better suited as a thesis aim. This has continued for months. An example:

To explore the disintegration of Society and its adaptation (technological and behavioural) to a dominant environment.

It wasn’t a deliberate ploy, but reflects how caught up I have been with world building and how little I have known about the plot percolating at the back of my mind. I knew my main character was running from her past and dealing with an alien environment mostly beyond her comprehension as a girl who is from the constricted environs of the compounds. I’ve been talking to a lot of people at a lot of the Nano events Elle has been organising. The questions asked, as well as random comments overheard from different conversations and contexts has really helped me change the way I think about my story and my creative processes. It isn’t any profound realisation, nor has it had a big effect on my story, but some more pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place.

An example of this is an overheard conversation between Kris and some other wrimos at the Kick-off at Federal Park today. I have no idea of the context. I wasn’t listening to their conversation but rather I was copying notes into my nano notebook. She mentioned the word ‘jail’ and it fired a maelstorm of ideas, scenes and concepts about the origins and motivations of my main character. After overhearing one word at a key point in my thought processes, I was finally able to draft a synopsis that is about the plot of my novel, not the concept! and, FINALLY to discover just what Jade is running from! So here is my new synopsis:

La Pensée Sauvage is a dystopian set not too far in our own future, maybe five hundred years or so, after an unknown catastrophe stops Earth’s societies in their tracks. Some societies clung to their technology and became stagnate, others embraced the environmental changes and grew.

Jade is running from incarceration, caught between the technological fundementalist compounds of her past and learning to survive amongst the rampant landscapes that now cover the Earth and the wild people populating them. Her future is uncertain, her present more so, and her past is full of unanswered questions.

La Pensée Sauvage is a working title at the moment. It’s the title of a key work by anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. It is a play on words (thought/pansy,  savage/wild) and it really works in this context.

I’m taking part in organised activities for most of Nano and it will be interesting to see if continued exposure to other writers changes the direction of my plot. I’m deliberately vague this year. My 2010 attempt became bogged down in suburbia because I couldn’t think of a way to set Kellz free. I’m hoping being open to my percolaring mind’s influence will keep me from writing a glass prison again.

National Novel Writing Month starts on Tuesday at 12:01am! You can follow my progress here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/zjanoir

Planning Nano: shaking something loose

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I suddenly wish nano was here already! The first paragraph of my story just hit me! I jotted it down, hoping it will shake something loose.

Almost. I almost wish nano was here. I’m still worried that I don’t know what Jade is running from. It’s like a quest in reverse, because she is running from something, not the classic running toward a goal. All my normal responses are out of wack because of it. O need to know what she is running from before I can work out her past *sigh*

Planning Nano: aim verses plot

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Every time I write a synopsis for my nano novel it is so academic and like a critical analysis in its turn of phrase, rather than about the story itself. I keep writing the aim rather than the plot. My latest novel synopsis is:
To explore the disintegration of society and its adaptation (technological and behavioural) to a dominant environment.
The annoying part is I have a vague plot and can see the main character now, but I keep getting technical with my synopsis. It is like I am back at university and analysing a text.

Tomorrow I’m buying some A2 cardboard and mapping things out. It worked with my thesis *shrugs* hopefully it will with a novel too. I just wish I could hang a corkboard on my wall…

Nano goss: first planning event

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My goodness! We are having our first Sydney nano planning event, and we seem to have been inundated with new faces! SO. MANY. NEW. FACES. They had to add more tables and now we have taken over the booths as well. Apparently last year we had 14 people… we have more like 30 tonight! O.o I’m my little introverted self. I’ve been writing my planning notes for an hour and a half rather than talking lol it’s good though, as I’ve gotten all of my scattered notes written in my new nano notebook. I really should be more social.

Oh, apparently we have exactly 30 people! Elle booked for 15 lmao

Planning Nano: a dystopian for 2011?

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I think i finally have an idea for nano! It’s based out of an observation I had when I went back to Toowoomba & saw how nature bounced back. My brother took me for a drive up through Murphys Creek and told me every family’s story and also a bridge he made after the flash flood. My dad later took me for a tour of our property post-flood and I saw how nature has already reclaimed the land. So I guess I am writing a dystopian this year. Just for me, nothing to do with trends. I love dystopia and have since I was a child. I don’t write for an audience & have no plans to publish. I don’t care if my stories ever see light & would prefer they stayed in the gloam. So, yeay, a dystopian nano for 2011! Now I just need to flesh out my ideas ^_^