Hello friends and welcome to another crazy idea from your friendly local writer. I’m your friendly (and struggling) local writer.
Happy Last Blog Post Before NaNoWriMo everyone! I hope everyone’s preparations are going well (at least for those of you who are participating) and I am looking forward to cheering everyone on.
A few weeks ago I mentioned the unlikelihood that I would be able to participate in NaNo this year. I have a freelance project that comes due right at the middle of the month that will consume most of my free time, and, as always, winter is my busiest time of year at my day job meaning I’ll likely be fried even without adding 1666 words a day to my task board. It sucks, because I really do enjoy the community and camaraderie that comes in November. I’ve participated every year since 2017 and managed the 50k each time, due in large part because I didn’t want to let anyone who I had told I was participating down (shame is my greatest motivator). Though a complete ass kicking, there’s something fun about it. And there’s definitely something to be said for the knowledge that maybe I can do this after all that comes at the end. So it’s kind of a bummer to me that I just don’t have time this year.
So, last week I was sitting here thinking about what I would talk about this week, on the near-enough-to-count eve of NaNoWriMo when I’m not actually participating.
And then dark me asked: are you sure you don’t have time?
Of course, I replied, I barely have enough time to get my paid writing done.
Nuh uh, said dark me, but I ignored her.
Until I couldn’t anymore.
Even if I did have time, I haven’t prepared anything, I told dark me firmly. And there’s definitely not enough time to outline something that would get me all the way through November.
So don’t outline, dark me said.
Readers, I nearly gasped out loud. Pants a novel? Moi? Perish the thought! I am a die-hard plotter. I love outlining. I’ve never pantsed anything in my life!
So? Said dark me, just teasing me at this point. Now is the perfect time to experiment.
Or it’s the worst time, I reminded myself. I’m setting myself up for failure.
Would that really be the worst thing? Asked dark me.
Yes, chimed in the anxiety brain and then I kicked it down the stairs and locked it in the basement, because no one needs that kind of negativity.
Well, I thought, dusting off my hands, I do have that one character in the Nexus that I’ve yet to come up with a plot line for.
And even if you don’t get 50,000 words, if you get just one idea for that character this month from pantsing, then isn’t that a win? Dark me wondered.
And that, my friends, is how the The Great Pants Experiment was born.
I tend to play a little loosely with the NaNo rules. As a high fantasy writer, I have to be. There isn’t a snowball’s chance of squeezing an entire fantasy story into just 50,000 words. So NaNoWriMo for me is more like NaPaOANoWriMo – National Part of a Novel Writing Month.
Just last year, in fact, I utilized NaNo to draft one leg of my most ambitious project to date, the Nexus. The Nexus, as I’ve mentioned a few times, is a massive, multi-POV mess of a novel that has no chance at all of landing an agent or traditional publishing contract, and yet I love so much I can’t not write it. The novel features five different story paths, some intersecting, some all alone on an island, told from ten different POV characters. Or, at least, that’s the plan, anyway. To date, I’ve only ever drafted the one leg, though I’ve got pretty firm ideas (if not outright outlines) for the others.
Except one. From the beginning I’ve always had a general sense the plot will have kind of a gothic horror feel to it. I know the POV character and how she winds up in her situation, but beyond that… I draw a blank.
That said, its connection to a world I know well and a brief cameo by other characters I plan to use in other story paths… I don’t know. I think dark me might be right, this might actually be a good time to try my hand at pantsing something.
I also think it’s possibly one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? I wasn’t even planning on doing NaNo this year until… like three days ago, so if I fail to reach 50,000 words what have I really lost? But if I get 35,000, 20,000, or even just a measly 5k, that’s already more than I started with, right? As long as I make sure my freelance writing gets done (due date of the 12th, leaving over half the month to play catch up if need be), then it’s okay, right?
Find out next week if I decide to go for it or not. Until then, my friends, may your November be wordy and your struggles be few.