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Early in October, I mentioned in an entry here that I was participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. For those who missed that entry, NaNoWriMo is an annual event in which thousands of people, all over the world, buckle down and write a 50,000 word novel over the course of November. I’ve participated every year since 2005, and today I notched up my third victory.

It’s been more difficult than the past three years1, because I’ve had a lot of other things to do. Preparation for my International Studies exam was always going to take precedence, for example. I barely wrote at all during the school week — only a couple of hundred words here and there — because school took up a lot of my time. The only reason I’ve been able to win this year at all is because I wrote 20,000 words in the first four days of the event2. I did so deliberately, to ensure that I could neglect writing for a couple of weeks without losing. And hey, it paid off, didn’t it?

So today I crossed the 50,000 word mark, and it seems as good a place as any to stop and explain what I’m writing.

The problem with this is… what am I writing? I’m writing so many different things with the same story that it’s difficult to know for sure. First and foremost, I suppose my story follows the life of my main character. She’s one of those people who is easily impressionable, and seems to spend a lot of her time going, “Hmm… this person has a point… but on the other hand, that person also has a point and they said the exact opposite of this person!” The person she listens to most frequently is a friend from school who’s always in trouble for something. This tendency to listen to him exasperates everyone else — they’d much rather she listened to someone more law-abiding.

The other aspect to my story is the setting of it. Essentially, it’s set in a city in which there are two nations who do not get along. The city is divided in three: the West for one nation, the East for another, and the North where they can mingle freely. (To the south is ocean, and the fish do not involve themselves in such disputes.) The North is, fittingly, the scene of a lot of violence and destruction. Despite all this hatred, there is also a group in the city advocating “togetherness”3, or an end to the division they believe fuels the violence. This is something my main character finds really appealing.

Despite crossing the 50,000 word mark, I’m actually not up to the interesting part of the story yet. My main character is still not really a part of the “togetherness” movement, although she certainly sympathises with them. I’m looking forward to writing about how she’s sucked in. The movement is also not exactly law-abiding — they’re non-violent, but they still break the law. The government is already unstable thanks to the violence, and does not tolerate anything they think will destabilise them further. This includes “togetherness”. I’m looking forward to writing about its reactions, too.

Most of all, though, I’m looking forward to having this novel done. At 50,000 words I’m nowhere close, and I don’t know when I’ll finish. December? January? The story has been in my head, in various forms, for perhaps a year and a half, and it would be nice to finally be able to say, “Yes, I’ve written that one down.” Unfortunately, that day is quite a way off yet. In the meantime, I’ll just keep writing…

My winners' badge!

My winners' badge!

  1. Yes, even more difficult than the year in which I lost — I lost because I got lazy, not because it was difficult!
  2. Including 15,000 over days three and four.
  3. No kidding, this is what I named it. I was writing quickly and had to think of some brief, noble-sounding aim for them, and that was what I decided on. The name stuck, because it’s not like I could think of anything that sounded less ridiculous anyway.

One Comment

  1. The way your mind works amazes me. (Especially the whole thing about the setting) You seem like a very smart individual. πŸ™‚

    You really do! I love that the character is conflicted by opposing ideas… that’s something I can totally relate to. It’s hard for me to find the right words to explain myself and why I’m always straddling the fence on a LOT of topics but it has a lot to do with the fact that I often try to listen to why people think what they think and I’ve realized over time that people are almost always a little bit justified in their beliefs.

    It’s great that you’re taking this time as an opportunity to write something you’ve long wanted to write about. I have a general idea for a novel I’ve been wanting to write but because I want it to be history-based (sort of like Forrest Gump or The Da Vinci Code. I want to connect my story with events/mysteries in history) and because I’m a history geek, I can’t get started on it. I want everything to be as historically accurate as possible and right now, I can’t commit too much time doing research for a novel just for fun.

    Anyway, good luck with your novel! πŸ™‚

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