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