IWSG – Looking Back on NotNaNo

Published December 4, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

Obviously, it was surreal not to be officially taking part in NaNoWriMo.  This is the first time since 2011 that I haven’t done it.

And yet I was still doing it, just not officially.  I still wrote 50,000+ words over the course of November.  A lot more than the 55k I counted, in fact, since I was also posting daily to this blog in order to leave an “official” tally.  (Though technically there was one day that had no post and one that had two, because I took so long one particular day that the post didn’t go up until after midnight.)

Of course, I didn’t do things the normal way in any other regard, either.  I didn’t drop what I had been writing to go straight on to my brand new project.  I didn’t get to the new project until almost halfway through the month.   I don’t know if that was why the new project didn’t really work out for me, or if it was just the exceptionally half-baked way I had planned it out.

I think a little of both, probably.

After giving up on it and letting the failure percolate for a while, I think I’ve nailed down why it didn’t work.  It wasn’t just that it didn’t gel with me, or that I didn’t have any idea who the villain was or even what they were trying to do; I’m such a pantser that I tend to proceed more on momentum than anything else, after all.   And I think that’s what killed it.  I was adhering too closely to the plot that I had generated via Querent (see this post for details), and it mentioned that the thing that almost stops the heroes from setting out on their journey has a wish-fulfillment aspect to it.  So I had them escape the destruction of the pub where they met by passing through the space-time fluctuation that was destroying it (long story) and end up in the very distant past, on a rather paradisaical world, so the wish-fulfillment was just going to be them getting to stay there.  The werewolf secondary heroine was going to be protected from her transformation because there aren’t any moons orbiting that planet, and the main heroine was…um…actually, nothing I came up with even seemed like an adequate wish to fulfill, which is (most likely) part of the reason I was getting derailed.  I was planning on having the king there offer her a major court position, which was to take the place of whatever she would have accomplished if she hadn’t dropped out of what amounts to a magical PhD program, but…she hadn’t really been seeking her degree out of a sense of ambition, so it didn’t really hit that wish-fulfillment goal.

More importantly, because they emerged out of a tense situation into one that was blissful and safe, they had no reason to get closer to each other, and instead their differing personalities (to say nothing of the heroine’s anti-social tendencies) drove them apart, making it completely unlikely that they would ever want to set out on a journey together.

I should have had them emerge into a terrible place, and if I wanted to follow the generated plot by having a nobleman try to stop them going on their quest, it should have been by imprisoning them, not by offering them plush jobs at his court.

I plan to return to it eventually and do it right, with them coming out into a terrible place that forces a bond of friendship to grow between them, but I’m not going to bother until I have at least some idea of who the villain is or at least what the villain wants to do and why they want to stop them.

Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep writing whatever floats around in my crazy brain.

For example…

…I went to see a movie today.  Knives Out, which was absolutely fantastic.  (And I don’t like murder mysteries as a genre, so the fact that I completely loved it is really saying something.  Especially considering how likable the victim was, unlike in Murder on the Orient Express, where the victim was an utter monster and you were glad he’d been horribly and repeatedly stabbed.)  I now have two stories I want to write.

The first, obviously, is a murder mystery (though how I’d write one when I don’t like the genre and never read them is beyond me), but also a fanfiction and slightly…not exactly a fusion with Knives Out, but close, in that the reason I want to write it is because Toni Colette was in Knives Out, as well as in the movie that is my obsession, Velvet Goldmine.  So now I want to write a story wherein Mandy Slade remarries and then her new father-in-law is killed at a party in his enormous, isolated manor house filled with his suspicious family.  It’ll require a lot more planning than I usually do (being almost incapable of writing anything that isn’t sheer pants (in the British sense as well as the “writing by the seat of my pants” sense)) but I should be able to write it, even if it may not turn out very good.

The other…I don’t even know how to describe what it would be.  So, there was this trailer for a movie called Antebellum.  For the life of me, I have no idea what the movie is about.  It looked like they were editing together pieces of three different movies.  It’s probably a horror flick, given the creepy little girl.  (Or rather, it looked like they were taking a Civil War/antebellum South movie, a modern drama and an evil-little-girl horror flick and editing them together (with the occasional literal overlap, like a horse-drawn carriage on a modern city street), so that probably means it’s the latter with trappings of the former two.)  But as my brother and I were discussing the trailers on the way home, we were talking about that one and trying to figure out just what the heck it actually is, and he came to the conclusion I just described, about it being a horror movie, but with, like, time travel or something, and I said how it could be something more novel, like it had a Megazone 23-style setting (wait, is it 23 or 32?), so that the whole thing is actually on a space ship or space station or whatever, and the little girl is patching between different zones of it.  We both agreed that would be much more interesting than whatever likely is actually going on.  I went one further by saying how it could look like it was an evil-creepy-child situation, only then it turns out the creepy little girl is actually the heroine, because she’s able to go into these zones and rescue the clueless inhabitants from their Matrix-like imprisonment.  We both agreed that was definitely not what’s going on in that movie…but now I want to write a story where that is what’s going on.  Dunno if I’ll ever get to that one.  It would be dipping into a lot of genres I don’t read or watch (though obviously I would pick a different past era than the antebellum South, picking instead one I actually like and know a bit about) and again I’d have to do a lot of planning first.  Still, I intend to let it percolate around in my broken brain and see if anything useful dribbles out later on down the line.



Ew, that sounded really gross.

Um, anyway, rather than either of those things, my next writing projects are likely to be two very odd fanfiction pieces I now have ideas for.  Probably my favorite thing I wrote this past month — and certainly the most unexpected thing I wrote — was a fanfiction fusion combining Velvet Goldmine and Henry V.  (A fusion being different from a cross-over in that it’s literally reworking the world so — wait, let me give examples instead.  Mickey’s Christmas Carol, in which Mickey Mouse & co. actually were the characters from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an example of a fusion, while the comic book stories that have universes collide, people or ships pop across dimensions, etc., would be examples of cross-overs.  (Crossovers are apparently very common in comic books, to hear my brother tell it.  And I’m not talking about two books by the same company happening to converge; I’m talking about things like DC and Marvel cooperating to have their heroes meet each other, or things that let the crew of the Enterprise meet the Doctor.  (And yes, both of those have happened in comic books.  Published, official ones.))

Anyway, I had thought about doing fusions for a few other literary films those actors made (specifically Midsummer Night’s Dream and Emma) only it seemed a bit too complicated.  But I just worked out how to do both of them, so I’m going to see if I can get those done in time to turn in at least one more of them for the Yuletide event.  Emma may be too complex to get done in time, but the other I think there’s a good chance of.

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