Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the vote for my NaNoWriMo entry. It all began in earnest on Sunday, and my work has already begun, albeit slowly, this weekend has been busy, and as well as writing a fifty thousand word novel this month I’ll also be keeping up a slightly diminished posting schedule here (and holding down a new, more demanding job).
For those of you who may have missed them, here are the articles that lead up to this stupid, stupid plan…
Prologue – Where I declared on the internet that I would do this, therefore making it legally binding.
Chapter 1 – The Where and When – The genre, you decided on Desertpunk – Kaiju.
Chapter 2 – The What and How – The vote for the narrative was “The Nomad”, the mystery of a soul who wanders the desert alone, despite the danger.
Chapter 3 – The Who and Why – A cast of characters, “Never Alone”, our protagonist talks to the Nomad who claims that the secret to her survival is that she is not alone, but remains evasive about what company she keeps.
Chapter 4 – The Monster – Winner: Sandstorm! A mysterious silhouette enshrouded forever in a swirling tempest. Apologies for the late shower who voted for Eclipse, sadly I’d already committed.
In every vote you made my life just a little bit harder, and yet when I sat down to begin on Sunday (having written up a quick plan for the story on Saturday) I actually found that it was easy to just let the words flow. I appreciate the challenge.
Expanding The Idea
There was no way of making a fully fledges story out of the few key elements you voted for. Here are few details that I’ll be using to build up the narrative:
The survivor group from which our protagonist comes from is based in a power plant that was originally some distance from any major settlements, nestled into a mountain side and so avoided the original devastation. The first survivors were technicians who managed to re-purpose a lot of the machinery into efficient water recycling units and micro-farms over the course of many years, to help themselves as well as any refugees who came seeking shelter.
It has been many generations, and the situation has become increasingly desperate. The original generators are now heavily supplemented by solar panels gathered by scavenger parties that have to raid daily in order to build water reserves, find new food sources, additional scrap metal, and whatever else the world has to offer. There has been an unusual cultural shift towards naming children after plants, names like Ivy, Basil and Rose are as common as Briar, Juniper, Thyme, and Rowan; an odd reminder of what has been lost.
The monster Sandstorm is apparently repelled by magnetic fields, and a fence of electromagnetic pylons encircles the Generator colony. It doesn’t keep the monster at bay altogether, but so far it has prevented any major attacks whenever the beast draws near, and has the added advantage of keeping lunatics from the gate.
The old-world is home to these lunatics. Think a blend of some of the more zealous Bandit factions from Borderlands, such as the Children of the Firehawk cult, and the cannibals from Doomsday, trying to avoid the Mad Max: Fury Road step along the way, but likelihood is that’ll also work its way in, I’m under no illusions. They’ve carved massive war-camps into the crumbling skyscrapers, and live by a strange doctrine they’ve cobbled together from observing Sandstorm’s behaviour, mostly surrounding the battlecry “Never look back!” because the creature seems to keep walking blindly forward. The words are shunned at the Generator colony as a sign of madness, they hoard relics of the past as a means to reclaim it.
The ideal word count for NaNoWriMo is around 1,667 words a day to hit the 50,000 goal. I don’t mind falling a little short while keeping up my posting schedule at the same time, I’d settle for 45K without feeling too bad. As of day one my word count was 1.2K, but I’ll be doing my best to fill up the count over weekends and quiet evenings.
I’m not great at finishing things, nor am I that great at building narratives. My forté is building worlds and populating it with interesting strings of events and rich factions, and low and behold that is exactly what I have done. As for an actual storyline, I have an act structure written down with no finale, just a string of events that paint an interesting picture, falling just short of an actual conclusion.
The NaNoWriMo website are kind enough to consider talent and the nature of writing. This is a first draft, so there’s no need to hope for anything ground breaking or even particularly good. A cohesive narrative and a finished product are all that November demands of us, and that’s all I sought to accomplish.
Who else is taking part of NaNoWriMo? What’s your story?