It starts in about ten days: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The joyous, crazy, intense, freakish experience of voluntarily committing to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. This will be my third year as a participant; I confess I’m addicted. I’ve learned a lot about writing from reading, and from workshops, and from mentoring; but there’s nothing that teaches us about our own writing more than simply doing it.
This year will be different in a couple of ways. In 2010 and 2011, I could rely on a busy and engaged Seattle-are WriMo community for lots of support – write-ins, including the infamous Ballard Drunken Write-in, where I seemed able to score word counts better than anywhere else. Now I’m in Ellensburg, with fewer WriMo’s and, so far, no tavern hosting the group of us. More importantly, the last two years I had not only an idea but a gimmick. In 2010, my main character, Jane, wrote short stories that came true; whenever I got stuck on plot, well, Jane cranked out another short tale. In 2011, heroine Guinn took over for Death, who wanted an early retirement; whenever I got stuck on plot, another person would die, with Guinn’s assistance across the barrier between Life and Death.
This year I’m trying something new. My heroine this time around is ten years old. And this week’s Project Create is the synopsis for the tale to come:
Amy June Pilgrim lives with her mother in an old house in a small town; Amy’s father is long gone, and her grandfather, Marq Pilgrim, lives with them.
Grandpa has a secret: he’s an accomplished theoretical mathematician searching the billions of bits of data that pass through the atmosphere each day for one message. It’s called the law of immediate forgiveness, and if Grandpa can find – and decode it – it can save the world.
One night Amy stumbles on Grandpa’s secret, and that’s where the story begins.
I have an idea that it will take Grandpa and Amy around the world, meeting all kinds of people; but I don’t have a gimmick to rescue me if the plot bunnies start scattering. I also don’t know if this will be a kids’ book, or a book for grownups with a girl hero. We’ll see! That’s part of the fun – and terror – of NaNoWriMo!