Sunday, October 14, 2007

Free Ideas for your Nanowrimo Novel

Are you planning to write a novel but don't have any ideas? Here are some plot and character ideas I had lying around in the attic of my head that you can have FOR FREE!!! Use as many as you need.

1. Main character is a blind, deaf or wheelchair-bound werewolf (vampire, fairy, elf, gaki). Extra points if your character DOESN'T want to die rather than living ('undying') with a disability.

2. Scientists are involved in a genetic study of sociopathic killers. They find a gene which causes this. A group of blood samples of prison inmates is exchanged for blood samples of preschool children. Three children test positive for the sociopath-killer gene. What happens next?

3. A presidential candidate is about to win the nomination, in large part due to her or his support of a certain issue. The candidate is visited by an actual angel who says that the candidate must switch position on this issue, and shows why this is important. Will the candidate ignore the warning to get elected? Or change her-or-his position on the issue?

4. A family finds a gateway to: a) another dimension b) fairyland or c) hell in their basement. What do they do about it? And will it lower the monetary value of their home when it comes time to sell?

5. A being with superhero-type powers fights the criminal element in a large city. The cops must find a way to capture the superhero and put him on trial for vigilante-action.

6. Panini rolls are actually alien life forms plotting to destroy the human race.

7. A vampire is appointed to the Supreme Court and makes his fellow justices into vampires too. (Remember Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, and can rule forever.)

8. A man plants trees, each one named after a friend, family member, or a famous living person. When a person's tree dies, the person dies. Some one finds out and kills the tree of a popular US president. (Does that count as assassination???)

Got your own ideas to share? Post them as a comment!

Write a Novel this November--- I dare ya!

It's approaching November, when all of us less than sane people decide to write a novel in one month. In spite of the fact that November is a sucky month to do this. Don't they know November is sheep-and-goat breeding season? Not to mention deer hunting season. (It's real important not to get these two mixed up.)

Join this insanity by going to the National Novel Writing Month web site and putting up your profile. You can view my profile, which is under the nickname 'ilsabein'. And then you can get started on planning and outlining. Do post a comment if you accept this challenge and put up a link to your (non-porno) blog, if any, and to your Nano profile-page.

Don't have a novel idea? I'll give you one for free! Check back on this blog later today, or within the next couple of days, and I'll post a list of novel ideas!
Other coming attractions on this blog: a list of Korean names for those who want to name a Korean character, stuff about the vampire lore in Dracula, musings about whether Dracula author Bram Stoker met Jack the Ripper suspect Walther Sickert, and more random moaning about my own Nano-novel.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Have You Planned Your Nanowrimo Novel Yet?

If November is National Novel Writing Month, October must be National Novel Planning and Outlining Month. For comparison purposes I am giving an indication of how MY planning is going.

The novel will be in the 'contemporary fantasy' genre, set in a town not too dissimilar to one near me. The fantasy elements will include magic of various types (thaumaturgy, magic, sorcery/sourcery). There will also be supernatural creatures--- two distinct, different varieties of vampires with different abilities and weaknesses, one female gaki, and one artifact-spirit (tsukumo-gami) who is a 100 year old Japanese tea-kettle who has become alive and can take the form of a young boy (probably a young Japanese boy, possibly Korean, maybe with odd hair color that matches his tea-kettle form).

I have other character ideas but they are not firmly fixed yet, a few strong ideas for scenes from near the beginning of the story, but the bigger picture is still very dim.

The most immediate planning need (for today and tomorrow) is roughing out the rules for my supernatural creatures and magic. My main villain with be a vampire, of the stronger of the two vampire types. I think he will be a Dracula-type vampire, but I think I will also have to have him able to be active during the day, at least for some of the daylight hours--- perhaps just the later afternoon. Otherwise he'll only be able to interact with the normal world during the winter months, during the rest of the year he won't be active during the hours when stuff happens.

Also need to work on the villain's motives and actions--- what does he want to do that the other characters have to stop? What are his weaknesses, what countermeasures can be taken? And what are his good points, if any?

Question for Readers: If you are planning a Nano novel, or any novel, right now, how are you coming? What is your novel going to be about? What aspects of planning are you working on at the moment? Let's compare notes!

Is Nanowrimo a good way to write a novel?

November is National Novel Writing Month, aka Nanowrimo, and after having tried it twice, I'm game to go one more time, but I wonder if this is a good way to work.

The idea is to write many hours during November with the idea of completing a novel, defined as 50,000 words. Actually by modern standards that's more like half a novel, or 3/4ths of a novel....

Nano-writing may produce a good word count, but I wonder.... Does it appeal more to our desire toward instant gratification and the quick fix? Is the kind of novel-writing we do during Nano the kind career novelists do? Nano-writing is kind of like taking a month off to pursue a hobby--- you leave the housework undone, eat only fast food, and some people even write on the novel at work.

But when the month is done, you breathe a sigh of relief and start doing housework, cooking dinner, and searching for the new job you need to replace the one you lost doing Nano.

A real writer, though, writes six days a week all year long. It's a regular part of their daily life. And if they get stuck at some point in their novel, they may slow down in order to be sure they are getting it right. In Nano one is more likely to plunge again madly to keep up with the word count. Which is a good way to paint yourself into a corner and get your novel stuck permanently in an unfixable state.

That being said, I'm doing Nano, but with a difference. I may be checking my word count daily, but the more important thing is steady and usable output. And of course the idea of writing a 50,000 page novel is out. That's too short to be published and I don't want to write 'The End' to something that needs 40,000 words added!

Of course, this means that I'm not going to 'win' Nano--- even if I make the word count I won't be finished--- but I'd rather have a finished novel than a 'win'.


Question to Readers: Are you doing Nano this year? Why or why not?
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