I swore I wasn’t I wasn’t going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I mean, I’m hip deep in a rewrite of two previous NaNo novels that I’ve mashed together to form one big Frankenscript of a dystopian future fantasy. It’s pretty much taking up all my time. And after that, the queue is full. There’s that awesomely crappy first draft of another past NaNo that I’m still in love with. There’s both the sequel and prequel to that last Epic Fantasy that I finished. Then there’s life, job, marketing the novel that’s already published (miracles do happen), five cats, a dog, a yard that was genetically altered by aliens to never stop growing no matter how cold it gets, and all that other non-writing stuff that is nevertheless important, like this blog, which I’ve been shamefully neglecting.
Oh, NaNo, you lovable, insane quest for words you.
My friend Pam talked me into it because she’s doing it and well, I hate to be left out. So fifteen days in and this completely unnecessary Space Opera has taken over my life. Screw the rewrite, my mind is on Mars, fighting many-tentacled aliens and giggling maniacally over the sheer silliness of it all. But I love it.
But is NaNo satisfied with this, with being way ahead of the game at 32,094 words? Apparently, no. While out walking in a boggy field taking pictures of fog the other night, I was possessed by the spirit of some unrequited story somewhere who’s author never discovered the joys of reckless abandon.
Upon returning from the bog outing, an unasked for storyline crept into my head. Two characters began talking, interacting, and conflict happened. Suddenly, when I’m supposed to be sleeping, I’m diving into a completely new and different novel! Well, I’ll just jot down a few notes, says I. 1,500 words later I come up for air, blinking at the vision of a whole new world unfolding at my fingertips.
Why, NaNo, why? And get this. The new story is a romance. I don’t do romance. This story doesn’t have a single alien, ghost, wizard or vampire in it. But the characters, ordinary people in an ordinary town, won’t shut up. They’re bossy and insistent. Their lives are spinning out in detailed, fully choreographed scenes. I defy any writer to ignore that sort of gift from the bog.
Honestly though I know this story has been fermenting deep within my psyche, out of sight, just under the judgmental radar of my critical mind. Romance? These characters seemed determined to care more about their personal relationships than saving the world. Go figure. Probably it will be boring and trite and unmarketable, but the beauty of NaNo is that I don’t care. Once the spigots of creativity have been opened, there is no stemming the flow. I feel it is my sacred duty to listen to the voices and provide them with an entry into the world outside of my head. Whether anyone sees them or not is an entirely other matter. It is the love affair with story that is the heart of NaNo, a romance that makes all stories possible.
But seriously NaNo, romance?