Since I have apparently taken leave of my senses, I have decided to once again attempt to complete a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I say “attempt” because thus far, I am 0 for 3 to “win” NaNoWriMo by actually finishing within the allotted timeframe.
So since November is National Novel Writing Month, that pretty much makes October National Novel Prep Month by default. It’s either that, or it’s National OMG Why Did I Tell Someone I Would Do This Month. The former just feels a little less reactive, to my mind.
So for the balance of October, my posts in the Writing Process & Projects category are going to be focused on preparing to write a novel (technically a novella, but whatever) in 30 days. Because even though the rules and bylaws of NaNoWriMo prevent penning any prose before November 1st, there are a lot of things you can do during October to get ready.
This first post, I’m going to throw out the idea of an inspiration piece.
If you have ever watched much HGTV (and if you had my mom, that’s a given), you will have heard designers talk about finding one piece of decor, or a swatch of fabric, or one design element, that sets the tone, palette and style for the whole room. Similarly, writers can often find one idea, setting, character, or other story element that serves as a sort of metaphorical shorthand and litmus test for an entire piece.
I’m going to suggest that you put it in your head to look for an inspiration piece for your November novel. C.S. Lewis said that the entire Narnia series was spawned from the image of a faun carrying parcels through a snowy wood. For J.K. Rowling, her “inspiration piece” for Harry Potter was two words: “wizard’s school.”
I already have my particular inspiration piece. On my commute, there is a beautiful, historic, two-story, Federal style brick building that has served at various times as an antique shop, coffee house, and music venue. It went up for auction last weekend. The entire second floor is the most gorgeous living space you could imagine. It was once the stagecoach stop and inn when that particular state highway was a dirt road on the way west to St. Louis.
That building inspires me. It gets me excited about the potential stories I could set within its walls. It gets me fired up.
So go get fired up yourselves. If you come across something inspirational and want to share it, drop a comment.