Saturday, October 30, 2010


So... there is this thing called NaNoWriMo, for the National Novel Writing Month. Needless to say, it picked my curiosity. But it also made me weary. I am paranoid when it comes to my writing. I’m a... very protective of my material. At first the name also annoyed me, for some silly reason. Now it’s sort of growing on me. At first I chose to ignore it (I saw it first on Facebook), but then I started seeing it mentioned elsewhere on blogs I follow and had to learn more. I even read the Terms & Conditions of Use. I never read the Terms & Conditions of Use. So here I was, sniffing around NaNoWriMo’s site like a weary dog.

To be honest, if it weren’t for the warm reception of the event on the blogosphere, I wouldn’t have signed up for it (Yay! Ear-to-mouth, err... blogging!).

I know that there are a lot of writers out there. There are a few writers in my family in fact: aunts and uncles, maybe even cousins. It’s a hobby for me (as it is for them), let’s be honest. I don’t make a living off of writing (yet). But does that mean I’m not a writer? This was one of the issues I had about joining NaNoWriMo: if I fail, does that mean I’m not a writer? I have the same dilemma thinking, if I’m not published, does it mean I’m not a writer?

I sure have the insecurities of a writer.

And then I couldn’t see what the point of the whole exercise was. Writing 50 000 words in a month is a lot of work. I know this. To “win” I’d have to write 2 000 words a day to finish on time and I know that I can write 1 000 words an hour... on a good day, when I’m not too distracted. It’s going to be hard. I got wondering what’s the point of doing all this hard work for? There doesn’t seem to be a prize for this thing.

The “About” section of their web page isn’t all that insightful

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

Ok... I get that. But what’s the prize!? I think later, somewhere, I read that they give you a certificate or something. But then I got thinking, browsing on their web page some more, that having access to an active writing community, an online community that is sharing a common and simultaneous experience, may benefit me some. I am shy when it comes to my work, but surely other writers feel the same way? Maybe some have similar experiences with writing? And then, maybe not? As a writer, I believe in sharing experiences. That’s what a writer does in their stories: share the experiences of their characters. I guess I’m afraid to be told out flat that I’m not a real writer (because I’m not published... yet!). But really though, who would do that?

I find interesting that some of the works produced during NaNoWriMo (sounds kind of like Japanese doesn’t it?) have been published. I like what I read somewhere on their web site (I can’t find where right now) November is for writing, editing is for December (oh, it was in the email confirmation spiel).

I came up with my own why and was left with what. Pouting, I began to think about what I would write. I already have a manuscript, on hold for research (which exceeds 50 000 words already). Isn’t this writing a new novel from scratch an excuse to procrastinate on the huge amount of reading I have to do for research? But again, there is much to learn from this experience and it’s only once a year and only for a month. But I couldn’t think of anything to write about. Maybe a fantasy novel which could become the lore of the video game that I refer to in my current writing project. Then I got thinking of old novel ideas... and I thought of an old villain of mine (that I’d thought back in 12th grade) which I’d abandoned and recycled in my current novel. And I got thinking, well, what if I told her story, the original story about her?

So I began thinking of my NaNoWriMo novel, starting with the bad ass villain. Also, yesterday I was thinking of bio-engineered spaceships, so I’m totally incorporating that into the story (which is sci-fi by the way). The original story had to do with twin girls, separated in their early teens, and living apart very different lives. One, Andrea, becomes a prominent scientist on Mars, a biologist (unknowingly promoting the stereotype of girl biologists). And the other, Fetisha, on the other hand... has a different life entirely. Captured by crazy folks with bio-engineered spaceships (pirates) she becomes in womanhood the head of a cult; a very bad group of people in the solar system who pray on others ships… and minds. Maybe I could have the ideology of the cult modeled against Scientology.

Oh, and predictably, the twins will meet again when they are women grown.

The irony is that I was thinking of this novel back in high school, with the idea that Andrea becomes a futuristic “saint for god” in the story (I was a “hard-core” catholic back in the day and wished to hmm… become a saint myself. Every "good" catholic does! Don't you know?) and Fetisha becomes the devil’s emissary. But I don’t believe in god anymore and I wouldn’t dream of writing a novel with god and the devil as antagonists! But still... Andrea is a scientist. So, now I’m thinking of making this a battle for rationality. Atheism VS occult beliefs. There!


I was thinking of bio-engineered spaceships when I was remembering how vibrations make bones stronger (as per Nasa research I’d heard about on TV) and got wondering what would happen to a space creature exposed to the dangers of space. Would it's skin and structure become more resilient? And the idea that we might have bio-engineered ships in the future, I think, is not that far fetched. So I’m looking forward to explore that possibility in writing.