I’ve been getting a lot of questions from folks, asking me, “So, it’s November! It’s Nanowrimo*, right? Are you writing a novel?”
And my answer unequivocally is, “YES!”
It’s a bit of a change from the short fiction I’ve been writing this year (15 short stories completed since May, and a couple of those a tad bit too long to call “short”). Another change is that this novel will be written completely PANTSED**.
What that means is that I will not plan, outline, or otherwise think ahead with this novel. This is in direct contrast to, oh, every other novel I have written.
Yes, I am scared witless.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be. I’ve been essentially pantsing since May. All of the short stories (and novellas, ahem) have been written, for the most part, from writing prompts or random titles. The only outlining, when there was any, came about after the midpoint of the story, usually when I was trying to figure out what the hell the story was. The process involved reading through the story and searching for Easter eggs***, and then somehow, by the grace of the universe, the story would start to make sense and I could finish it.
But those were stories in the 3,000-18,000 word range.
And not with a deadline.
<pause for dramatic effect>
So here I will document the process, if nothing else than as a record for myself. I think I can do this; after all, I have managed to complete Nanowrimo eight times. It’s just that the whole leaping-off-into-the-abyss feeling is rather daunting. For a planner like me, this is unsettling, to say the least.
Hang in there with me! Become my Nanowrimo Writing Buddy (my user name is “andipedia”), and/or cheer/jeer me on in the comments.
To infinity (or 50,000) and beyond!
*Nanowrimo = National Novel Writing Month. When over 400,000 people around the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. How long is 50,000 words? Think The Great Gatsby, Fight Club, The Red Badge of Courage.
**Pantsed = verb (past tense) of “Pants”: “to write by the seat of one’s pants” (i.e. to make the story up as one writes)
***Like the Easter eggs in movies or video games: some hidden detail. Also known as “Muse bombs,” where one’s Muse leaves little ‘bombs’ that can explode your creativity.