Nanowrimo 2021, week 2-ish

Let’s review where I was last time I posted…

I had decided that most of the stories I was working on for my Nano-rebel project wouldn’t work as standalones (there are some that will, but more on that later).

And the more I thought about my idea for extracting material for encyclopedia-type entries (and began working on it), the more I was unsatisfied with it. It isn’t that I don’t want to do it (or won’t necessarily), but it felt insufficient to what I was trying to do with the ideas that I had.

But this past week, I finished expanding the 15 little stories I was working on, which involved a lot of worldbuilding and stream of consciousness writing that generated a lot of random ideas. So they total over 30 000 words now.

I also did a couple of days of narrative-less writing on a couple of elements of the universe/whatever it is and one day re-planning everything once that was all done.

(As an aside, this is why I find being a Nano rebel tricky. Give me 1667 words a day and I can do that. I have done it a bunch ot times. But having to constantly fiddle with the plan is something else entirely.

Because it isn’t just about changing what I’m doing — that happens all the time in my writing — but it is also figuring out how to track what I’m doing in a Nano-friendly way.)

As I worked on the 15 proto-story ideas, I was struck by a few things.

One was that, in part because they were spaced out over a really (really) long time period and also because there was a lot of big picture worldbuilding, there was way too much telling.

Additionally, the stories themselves, although they showed little snippets of daily life, weren’t driven by much of a narrative.  Again, the details contributed more to worldbuilding than anything else. There wasn’t much in the way of tension or conflict, however defined.

As if that weren’t enough, the stories didn’t really hang together well, either. There were too few characters (most of them focused on the same two characters, with two others in some of the stories) and, again because of the very long time period covered, there were a lot of gaps and questionable timelines.

So. New idea! (Which is kind of bonkers, given that I keep saying I want to write more, shorter work…)

I think it makes more sense to group the ideas and themes into four novellas (not really long ones, all in the 20 000 word range).

Each book/novella/whatever will reveal a little bit more about the world than the previous book did. Each one opens things up a little more and provides more background, which addresses issues that were raised in the previous book, but also ends up raising further issues that are addressed in the next book.

And, yeah, also they go backwards in time, sort of. The first one is the novella I have already finished and is out looking for a home. Then, book 2 ends before the beginning of book 1 and book 3 ends right before the beginning of book 2 and so on.

So in each book you think you understand the people who are in it (particularly in a collective sense), but then in the next book you pull back one step further back into the past and realize you do not (or at least, not entirely), and this repeats.

This may or may not make sense to anyone but me right now. Hopefully, it will make sense to others once they’re done.

My plan for the rest of the month is to outline those four novellas (because why not) and do further worldbuilding. I have rough outlines of two of the four done already. I’ve spent so much time thinking about this world that once I started considering things it in this way, a lot came together rather quickly.

And the one other thing I’ll do is go through the stories I have to extract ideas that would work as standalone stories completely separate from this project. I noted a couple as I was working on them, ideas that are good but won’t fit well with my new plan.

So that’s all for now. I’ll also need to figure out a plan for writing these things, but that’s for December.

Take care.

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