Well, it is October, so I am knee-deep in Preptober.
What’s Preptober, you ask?
Well, first, I have to tell you about NaNoWriMo.
NaNo, as I will call it henceforth, is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. There is a website, where you sign up and log your daily word count throughout the month. The goal is to write at least 50,000 words. It is a daunting task. I won by a nose last year, pulling in about 51.000 words. My first book’s first draft was complete. It is short, likely going to be a novella or a serial or something, but it’s done and out of me and I was prouder of myself than I have ever been.
Now, when I wrote that guy, I had massive amounts of prep done already. Outlines, character descriptions, dialogue snippets, and about four already written chapters. I didn’t need to do a whole lot of prep, because I had already done it years earlier when I got the idea for the book. It was just a matter of sitting down to write it.
This year, though, things are a little different. I have an outline and character descriptions and a very rough first chapter, and only because I have been working on these things since Oct. 1. See, the month beforehand is called Preptober, and it’s when we get ready for NaNo. I have a workbook I am using, and it has been very helpful for streamlining my thought processes. Everyday I complete a task from the book, then I work it into my notes or story. It has really been useful.
Last year, I wrote a little story that had lived in me for a couple of years, ever since Robin Williams passed away, actually. That was the day I started it. It marinated in my head for a while before falling out my fingertips. This story is similar, but it has been soaking in my brainwaves for a much longer period of time.
See, I started writing a book about 18 years ago or so, when Bush was president and I thought the world was on fire (hindsight is 20/20.) It was about a group of freedom fighters who topple a dictator who has taken over the USA and implemented many unjust laws to suit his own desires. Then Obama got elected, and some of my fire died out, so I abandoned it for a while. Then 45 got elected, and I reread it, realized I am either a plagiarizer or a fortune-teller, and scrapped the whole thing.
But those characters. I spent so much time on those characters, and I loved them. I love them more than Frankie, my lead from last year’s novel. They have been living in my head for so long, just waiting to be put into prose. Now is the time.
I scrapped the whole plot, of course. I built a new one, and inserted my lovely characters into it. And it’s already better than it was before…they are adapting to their surroundings quite nicely.
So, today’s Preptober assignment is about inciting action. When I do these exercises, I feel like I am back in Ms. Maloney’s 12th grade creative writing class. Part of me is like “Oh, this is pointless, writing out these details that are already in my brain.” The other part of me remembers that class, and the four-inch thick portfolio I left it with, and how each of those stories had a worksheet or an essay or something to help me understand the aspects of storytelling better. And they worked, so I am leaning on these assignments the same way I did my English homework.
Anyway, we are almost halfway though the month, so NaNo is fast approaching. As I did last year, I will be updating my blog on Thursday’s in November with my progress reports on the whole experience. I have very high hopes this time around, because I think that A. my novel will be significantly longer…we’re talking full-length book. And B. I think it is a marketable concept. I really believe it will get published. I really believe it will sell.
Just gotta get it outta my fingertips.