Lurking…Ready to Pounce: Midnight and NaNoWriMo Are Just around the Corner

It’s coming.

The kids are all done with their trick or treat candy hunt. They’ve bounced around the house for the past hour or so trying to come down off of that sugar high. You’ve stashed the remaining candy (removing some of the cooler chocolaty bits for yourself) in the closet…top shelf so they can’t reach it without your help.

It’s dark…but not stormy (hopefully) out tonight…and you can feel the vibe in your nerves…

No…not caffeine. Something better. Something that when mixed with chocolate, cool tunes, and caffeine makes you a novel writing fiend…but not in a bad way.

You’ve cleaned your desk off. You’ve squirreled away treats and drinks near your desk for easy reach. You’ve dug out that “Novel In Progress: Do Not Disturb” sign to hang on the back of your chair just in case your Sweetheart forgets that you’re embarking on a quest and wants you to peel grapes instead.

Since pets can’t really read, you’ve designated a spot next to, or under, the desk for your co-pilot to act cute and receive the absent minded pets as you desperately try to get your character out of yet another fine mess. Man, but that character has a way of getting into the deepest pits…and she always seems to have her shovel ready to make the pit even deeper.

If you get stumped on a character’s names, here’s a place to find names. If you’re looking for a cool destination, here are some pictures. If you’re looking for a list of poisons, it’s there.

If you’re stumped re: the plot, here are some twists that I’ve discovered/borrowed from others:

“She checked out last night.”

After fighting a ten-year battle with addiction, a man moves to Japan to study with a Zen philosopher.

There’s a cow (moose, elk, bob cat, bull) walking down the main street of town.

A magic ring is discovered in a box of cereal.

“Stay on this train until the end of the line.”

The bank teller realizes that the guns aimed at him/her by two robbers are fake.

“I think you broke it.”

“There’s something chewy in my coffee.”

A depressed man has a brief, yet life-altering, encounter with a stranger.

There’s a ball of fire rolling through the backyard towards the kitchen window.

The love letters have gone missing.

Someone cannot remember having the large sum of money found in the wallet.

Known existence is a product of the imagination.

“I’ve got to get out of these clothes, fast.”

Pack up the cats and move to a foreign country.

Your character’s best friend has just admitted to killing several people.

Your character is hanging by his/her fingertips…moments from certain doom.

“Either you tell him, or I will.”

An ancient, sealed box has been uncovered during a dig in the back yard.

A lake, a 50 lb. weight, a cable, and a victim.

“Helpful hint: Wait until you’re sober before trying that again.”

It’s coming…the Midnight Hour. And though evil is possibly afoot in your novel, the Shadow your protagonist is out there fighting the forces of evil.

Post your novel writing coolness, tribulations, thoughts, and questions here…

(note: My computer may be down for repairs for a few hours tonight. So I may not be able to log on til it’s fixed.)

Update: From a Chris Baty email sent earlier today:

Step 1. The secret of NaNoWriMo. Which is this: There is a door in your brain. The door has been there your whole life. You may not have noticed it before because it blends in with everything else in your brain. Weird art. Mismatched furniture. Squis hy gray bits clinging to everything. 

So what does this door have to do with your novel?

Your job this month is not so much writing a book (which is intimidating) as it is finding that door (which is easy).

It’s easy because you’ll have guides in November who will take you right to it. 

These guides are also known as your characters. They’re kind of an abstract notion now, but you’ll meet them in all their glory in Week One of NaNoWriMo. They’ll be a strange lot. Insecure warlocks. Stamp-collecting squirrels. Teenage detectives.

Whoever shows up, go with them. And go quickly. You may have a general sense of where you’re going together; you may not. It doesn’t matter. Just write your allotment of 1667 words (or more) on November 1. Don’t edit any of it. Editing is for December. Then come back and write another 1667 words the next day. And the next. And the next.

By Week Two, you’ll be at the door. A few words later, you’ll be through it. You’ll know you’re there because the writing will feel different. Less like work, and more like watching a gloriously imperfect movie with cringe-worthy dialogue, heaps of confusing tangents, and moments of brilliance so delightful that you’ll want to scream.

Once you’ve stepped through that door into the vast reaches of your imagination, you’ll be able to return there as often as you like. It’s an enchanted, intoxicating place, and there are other great things besides novels in there.

Also…links…lots of links…

National Novel Writing Month
Last Minute Panic (read Deadlines)
Plot Stuff
Setting Stuff

x-post at the sandbox


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    • kredwyn on November 1, 2007 at 4:00 am

    1 hour 6 minutes for the east coasters.

  1. Is it write a novel in a month based upon the above, or just write a bloody novel in a month on whatever one wishes?

    ‘Cause I’ve got a little potboiler based the Bush gov’t I’d love to write in a month, before they come for me…

  2. Didn’t start at midnight, but I was working on character development in my noggin then.  Now clacking on the keys in the library – am at 1810 and counting.  How are you doing?

    What’s your user name on the site?  Wanna be my writing pal?

    Best of luck to you – may the words flow as in Niagara.

    • Temmoku on November 2, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Mybe a novel about a blogger writing a novel just because someone decided that November was a good month for writing. It will be about all the obstacles being put in the way by and extremely selfish spouse who thinks I need to stop and make coffee now because he doesn’t know how to work the coffeemate machine.And how old is he? And why does he still need help typing his email?

    Hope you have better luck than me.

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