“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is a good motto to go with however how many of us are initially drawn to books because of their cover? I know that I’m guilty of that. I look at cover’s first, back blurbs second, inside flap’s third and finally I read the first page. If that grabs me I move onto the first chapter and if I’m still interested then I read the book… but I digress. Ever since I’ve been introduced to Photoshop and other manipulation tools I have enjoyed creating my own cover art. This year’s NaNo is no exception… though it is the first time that I’ve done the cover art before I’ve only completed the story. I’ve done two versions too and I can’t quite decide which one that I like better.
The one on the left is the first one that I did. I like it ’cause it shows the main character centre and her two love interests on either side (and yes that’ Robert Duncan, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas as actor stand ins for this story) but my friends said that it was too confusing, so I created the one on the right.
It shows the same three characters only my female main character is on the right and the other human is on the left. In the centre is the third main character who spends the vast majority of the story as a disembodied consciousness. I have no idea which cover is better, or which one that I like more… they both capture the feeling that I was looking for and they both inspire me greatly for the month ahead. ^_^
Normally when I write I pick a song that fits the mood of the story and I listen to it on endless repeat. Sometimes the music that I listen to has NOTHING to do with what I’m writing. That isn’t quite the case with this year’s NaNo novel. I heard this song from Jason Walker on the radio and it just spoke to me. I eventually found it on the radio and after reading the lyrics I realized that this song epitomizes one of my main characters at the beginning of the novel. I’ve listened to the song at least a couple dozen times now and every time I hear it… it gives me chills. More than that though, the thought of having a song for the beginning made me wonder if there weren’t more songs out there that would fit my fledgling novel.
And yes… there was. I have found that my entire novel can be told in song (more or less) and the songs are as follows; Starlight by Muse, Arrival to Earth from Transformers, Across the Universe of Time by Hayley Westerna, A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, The Rohan Theme from Lord of the Rings, Illan Eshkeri from the Young Victoria, Lamia’s Lair from Stardust, This is War from 30 seconds to Mars, Thor’s Soundtrack Suite by Patric Doyle, Love Theme from PotC: At World’s End, Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson, Never Alone by Barlow Girl, Breath of Life from Florence + the Machine, Losing your Memory by Ryan Star, Two Steps from Hell by Archangel, Humanity in Motion by Nathan Lanier, Only You by Sinéad O’Conner and finally Skyfall by Adele.
The entire playlist is one hour and thirty seven-ish minutes and listening to it form start to finish really gives a sense of what the novel is going to be when it’s written. The instrumental themes inspire me to write the description, while the lyrical songs remind me of characters and scenes that I am now bursting to write. It’s six days till NaNo and I really can’t wait. ^_^
So, I know that I’ve written about this before but I’m going to write about it again. When one writes, there are really only two ways of doing it. One way is to plot the story out from beginning to end, to have a road map so that the story doesn’t get bogged down by tangents. The other way is setting off into the great unknown and let your characters find the way for you.
Normally, I’m a pantser—especially when it comes from National Novel Writing Month (which starts in 7 days O_O). For me, the magic of writing comes from having a vague idea and maybe one or two scenes and letting the characters grow and develop as they will. This pantsing approach has led to problems in the past, but more often then not it has worked out just fine for me in the end. There usually does come a point for me in NaNo where I do have to figure out where the story is headed but that’s usually well past the halfway point.
This year is a whole other kettle of fish though. Because I’ve chosen a genre that I’ve never written before (science-fiction space opera) I decided that I really needed to know WHERE it was that my plot was going because otherwise how was I to know whether or not I would even have enough to write a full 50k?
So the plotting began… I broke my story down into ten parts and began to fill it out. I knew the beginning of my story quite well after all it was the thunderbolt that hit me while I was driving home from tutoring a student sometime last year. It was the middle that I was foggy with. I had no idea on what the motivation for my characters would be, or how this single idea would fit into a whole new world. But by forcing myself to think of things, I was able to fill out nine of the ten parts. The one part that I haven’t filled out is the ending because quite frankly I’m not sure who is going to live and who is going to die and whom is going to end up with whom with this story. I will cross to that bridge when I get to it.
And while I know that it is entirely possible that an idea will strike me at the eleventh hour, I can rest easy for the next seven (O_O) days knowing that I do indeed have enough of a plot to see me to 50k and maybe even beyond if the parts take longer to tell then I think it will.
Ideas. I have an abundance of ideas. Every time I walk up or down an aisle at the local bookstore where I work I get another idea. They come at me with such ferocity that I often don’t know what to do with them. More often then not though, they disappear before I am able to do anything about it (like write them down).
I have a whole folder called “The Graveyard” where the barely started ideas are placed, and I’ve got several files (588 to be exact) of chapters and story ideas, beginnings and endings, bits of dialogue and all the rest. The problem for me is finding an idea that (a) can be developed into a long story and (b) can be sustained for a long amount of time. Most of the time both are huge issues for me, but National Novel Writing Month FORCES me to make an attempt at least.
In terms of a plot for this NaNo, I *think* that I have one hammered down. It’s still in the idea stage really, but bits and pieces of plot points are coming together and with eight days to go I am eagerly waiting for that thunderbolt of inspiration to hit me so that I have enough in the tanks to see me through the thirty days.
So… the year is drawing to a close and I’ve barely written a word. National Novel Writing Month is speeding up like a freight train and I can’t decide what I’m going to write. I do however believe I know where all my indecision is coming from– I don’t know my voice as a writer.
For years, my entire adult life so far actually, I have always thought that I would be a YA writer. They are the books that I love to read and they are the books that come most easily to me however, just because a book comes easy doesn’t mean that it’s something that I should be writing. Last year’s NaNo was like pulling teeth and even though I ended up with a story that was pretty decent, the sequel has totally fallen by the wayside. More than that, none of the novels that I’ve written thus far (and I’ve written six) have been good enough in my mind (save for the first) to try and attempt to get published.
I follow several writers online and the one thing that always sticks out to me is how passionate they are about their novel. Their stories MUST be told to the world, and I haven’t felt like that for anything that I’ve written (save for the one that I did query out to like 80 agents).
So where does this leave me? In a conundrum to say the least. While I’ve been trying to figure out WHAT I want to write, I’ve been reading a lot and I’ve been noticing that my muses change on a whim. When I read a good YA book, I want to write YA. When I read / watch a good chick-flick I want to write a romantic story. When I watch / read science-fiction, I want to write a science fiction story. When I watch / read something strictly fantasy, I want to be that fantasy writer. I don’t know who I am as a writer. I have so many ideas and no real determination to see any of them through.
National Novel Writing Month 2012 is coming up in just over a week and I am bouncing between a YA story where fairy tales become real, a science fiction story where a thief befriends a disembodied consciousness and a chick-lit tale where a twenty-something finds herself accidentally married and has to deal with consequences. I can see myself writing all three of them… and I would love to write all three of them at once but the stresses of NaNo require me to just pick one and I don’t know which one to pick.
*sigh* Maybe I’m just going to have to write all three on a piece of paper and then pick one come November 1.