NaNoWriMo is rapidly approaching, and this means it is time for me to wind up the loose ends of my current projects and prepare to kick my brain into gear for a month! 30 days, 50,000 words and 200,000 of my closest friends!
I will begin on Nov. 1st with only an idea for a novel, and I will write like a wild woman for one whole month, pausing only to bathe, put the pot-pies in the oven and (possibly) cook a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
I have found that, personally, I am able to stay on task better if, once I identify my story, I write to a sort of outline. SO – let say our story is a fantasy tale. This is the (sort of, maybe, kind of) outline for I, Galahad – an Arthurian–Steampunk short story which is part of a collection of soon to be published ‘fractal fairytales’—tales I loved as child, and spent long hours contemplating them, imagining how I would have written them. And now, I have reworked a few of them. The mind of a middle-aged woman is a dangerous thing to leave unattended, heh heh…
The first question I asked myself was: Where do Arthurian and Steampunk connect well enough to make a story? I wondered what Galahad and Gawain would have really been like. And… what if they were actually lovers… And what if somehow Galahad got separated through a door in time from Gawain? How would he get him back? Ooohh… what if he was marooned in Edwardian England, with Merlin – can you say Steampunk?
- Title – I, Galahad
For every story, the title is a moot point for me, because any title I give it now will be changed when I rewrite it anyway.
- Main character: Galahad Du Lac, son of Lancelot Du Lac, illegitimate, some have said, but is he really? If he is, it implies the fifth century was a lot less concerned about the proprieties than we give them credit for. His line of work –nobleman and hero – he goes on quests to find strange and magical objects such as Holy Grail.
- Point of View – let’s tell it from Galahad’s point of view.
- The story opens as Grail is found. What is the original story – Galahad finds the grail and immediately goes to heaven, raptured as a virgin – but was he? I mean raptured OR a virgin? If he was not raptured, what could have happened to make medieval chroniclers like Geoffrey of Monmouth and Chrétien de Troyes think he was?
- What does Galahad have to say about his story?
- How does he end up separated from Gawain
- How does he end up in Merlin’s company
- Why are they unable to get back to Gawain? What is the reason the magic no longer works?
- What do they do to resolve the situation?
- How does the tale end – does Galahad get Gawain back or is he permanently adrift in time? Write it two ways and pick the one that moves me.
This method has been successful for me, but it is not a true outline – it is really only a visible prompt. I always end up winging it and tossing ideas out the window as new ones which are better suited to the tale come along.
And after I posted this I saw Johanna Garth’s post on her Losing Sanity page (which is one of the most awesome blogs ever) and she discusses HER approach to writing! She wings it! Read her post —> here: Tie Me Up!
I actually do have some ideas for my NaNo Novel this year, but I am still not sure which one I will finally settle on. It’s a smörgåsbord of ideas in my twisted little mind.
Each idea looks so delicious – I’ve no idea how to choose! The ideas I don’t pick will all be made into short stories or novels at some point, because (being easily distracted by shiny things) I always have several works in progress going at the same time. The important thing will be to focus on writing alone and let everything else – housework, laundry, cooking – go for a while. After all, I must actually write if I am to get that all important word-count!
Oh wait – that’s what I do all the time now! Doh!