While getting ready to take on NaNoWriMo again I decided to do something totally counterproductive. I took a little while to look back on all my unfinished projects that I could be working on, instead of starting up an entirely new novel.
Ah, nostalgia. It’s so powerful and sort of hurty and now I really just want to go back to them and dust them off and work through the rough bits. But no, I’m going to set them aside and try to do something totally different.
This year, my project is a perfect example of three things I never write.
1. It’s just straight fiction. There’s no speculative/fantasy/scifi/steampunk/magical realism tag attached to that ‘fiction’ label, it’s just ‘fiction’. The plot and characters never existed that I know of, but conceivably could according to the laws of nature with which I am acquainted in the real world. They’re just people, doing realistic people-y things.
2. Its ‘literary’ which in this sense means that it works with the more modern model of a novel. Instead of building the conflict to its peak and then resolving everything/offering closure etc., it builds the conflict to its peak and then end the story in such a way that it really just leaves the reader to think about it and draw their own conclusion. I’ve always found this to be crap, but apparently it’s what really smart writers are supposed to do now. Whatever. Pretentious goons. We’ll see how that part of it goes. I may decide to give it a classic ending after all, but I’ll try for this, unless I choke on my own affectation.
3. It’s not my idea. This is a big weird deal for me. Other people have offered up suggestions to me before, usually the conversation starts about like this, “Oh you write? That’s so cool, I wish I could write. I’ve got all these ideas, but I just don’t have the time. Say, have you ever thought about writing a book about (insertbrilliance). I know! You should write my book for me.”
Most of the time the idea they’ve got strikes me as pretty dull. Sorry, that’s the truth. I typically reply in a toneless voice with, “Sorry, I’ve got too many of my own projects to work on. You’re going to have to write that one yourself.”
In fact that’s my automatic response whenever anyone tries to tell me what to write a book about, even if it’s a mildly interesting idea, and that’s exactly what I said when the idea for this book was first given to me.
But I couldn’t forget about it. And the person kept bringing it up again, so they wouldn’t let me forget about it. I do actually like it, I began to realize.
I’ll go ahead and make it my NaNoWriMo project, even though its obviously not my usual thing… In all honesty, that’s one of the reasons why I set it aside for NaNoWriMo. Because it’s so different from what I usually do, I kind of can’t see myself sticking with it for long. I’m either going to have to knock it out all at once, or forget about it.
I’m not saying it’ll be brilliant, I’m just hoping that I’ll go ahead and finish the 50,000 words as planned and then I can set the rough, rough draft aside and get back to my other projects for a bit, let this poor, weird neglected child marinate for a few months/years and then when I’ve pretty much forgotten what I wrote, I’ll come back to it and see if it’s really any good.