Surviving Nanowrimo # 2

I am back with encouraging news. You can write a novel in the month of November. It not only is possible but it’s do-able. Just sit down in your chair and go to work on November 1st. Before you know it, 50,000 words have appeared on your computer screen. A few cups of coffee and a daily shot of persistence and easy peasy.

Oh, you don’t drink coffee. You’re English. Well, maybe a cup of tea is the ticket. Whatever gets your subby-conscious out of bed is the thing.

So, where to begin on that fine November 1st morning since you didn’t prepare during October? Or you’ve spent the whole month debating over which idea to choose from when you have a bucketful of ideas.

I have an exercise that has worked very well for me. It’s called What-if, and it goes like this. Mosey over to the Monochromia blog and check out the photographs for the day. Pick two.

For example: Maybe I see a photograph of a woman holding a surfboard. In a second photograph, twenty people at a party stand around in small groups of three or four.

WHAT IF the woman was at the party, standing alone in a corner holding a surfboard?
WHY is she standing alone in the corner and with a surfboard? Gotta find out.

I, the author, walk into the room. Several of the folks give me a “hi-ya doing, Uncle Bardie?”

I nod my greetings and walk over to the woman. “What’s a nice girl like you doing with a big surfboard like that in a place this?”

She turns to me. “Waiting  for the Second Coming. You have heard of the Second Coming, haven’t you?”

“I thought it had already occurred at Ulu Watu.” I’ve always wanted to use Ulu Watu in a sentence. Now I’ve had my chance.”

“Oh, that was just a prelude.”

I introduce myself. She says, “Just call me Chad.”

“Chad?”

“Stands for Carolyn Hermione Allyson Deboit.”

THEN WHAT HAPPENED?

Across the room, a man in his early twenties,  looks at me. After a moment, he walks over.

“You okay, Sis?”

“You know I’m not.”

He gives me a challenge, but his sister continues, “You know how I hate these parties.”

WHAT IF he gets angry.

See how the process works. Keep answering those three questions and pretty soon you have a scene. Before you know it your answers have accumulated into two thousand words on the page and you have a character you can follow to who knows where.

Initially you might want to be in the photograph. However soon you’re going to disappear unless you are a character. The important thing is to let your imagination run wild like the mustangs who used to roam free out West. If you trust your imagination, you’re going to be in for a wild ride.

2 thoughts on “Surviving Nanowrimo # 2

  1. I used to do this with real people at the coffee shop. I’d sit down with a pen and notebook and draft a story for any interesting stranger I spy. Great practice if you ask me. I do miss it, now with the pandemic and all. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

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