"I sit down to a blank page and see my oldest friend. Some days I write something decent. Some days I suck. Whatever. It’s not like I won’t be back tomorrow."
~ Sera Gamble

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 - Story Ideas

It's September and I'm starting to think about Nanowrimo 2015, that exciting and crazy month in November, where every year I attempt to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel.  I think September is the earliest I've thought of my Nanowrimo novel, normally it's some time in October I start to think of it.  But I'd really like to give myself a good go of it this year.  Perhaps this year will be the first one I actually win Nanowrimo?

Beckie / Flickr Creative Commons License

Feeling inspired by my Art Challenge earlier this year, where I created a fantasy image based on an idea of a British secret service covertly fighting alien threats in the Victorian era.  How would Victorian technology fare against alien technology?  Aliens, alien abduction, experimentation on humans, shapeshifting aliens, alien robots and monsters attacking Earth and it's inhabitants would all seem very alien and very strange to 19th century humans.  

My Artwork: 'Ancient vs Futuristic' - Colour Pencil on A5 Sketchbook paper

Although they could use Victorian guns, probably flintlock pistols and rifles, and gunpowder (most enemies don't fare too well against large explosions), I think they would still struggle against alien enemies.  Perhaps they could make use of the occult knowledge that was so popular in Victorian times.  Consulting psychics to determine when and where any alien encounters or threats had or would happen.  They could also seek out witches and mages to do battle against alien enemies, summoning spirits and werewolves to do their bidding.  This may make the battleground a more even one.

The Ouija Board
Lemurian Grove / Flickr Creative Commons License

Their communication abilities would be very archaic compared to today, before telephones of any kind were invented, not even radio communication existed.  Letters would have been posted, and if something could not wait 24 hours for first class post, messengers could be sent, like errand boys (or grown men if they could not trust them) to deliver paper messages that were urgent.  Members of the secret service could turn up at an agent's house, or meet them at a pre-arranged time, such as at a park.  They could pass paper messages that would need burning after reading.  Or they could have some sort of code.  Perhaps Braille? They could have secretly invented before it was released to the public to be used by the blind, it could have been used as a discreet code around the edge of postcards or greeting cards to be sent through the post to secret service agents.

Bible inside cover
lokarta / Flickr Creative Commons License

Steampunk technology could have been invented in a similar way, to look like Edwardian technology, that was secretly invented earlier than was released to the general public.  What kind of Steampunk technology could they have had?  Electricity hadn't been invented, so it would have to be something running from a steam engine, or cogs like a wind-up clock mechanism, which could be very small like a pocket watch, or something very large like Big Ben.

Compass Study
Calsidyrose / Flickr Creative Commons license

Perhaps I can spend these 2 months leading up to Nanowrimo researching Victorian technology and what occult and superstitious beliefs they had, to give me plenty of ideas to go through in November.  I find I struggle when I don't know what is going to happen next in my novel, I've tried winging it with absolutely no prep at all, and I've tried with lots of ideas seemingly carefully planned, and then run out of steam.  

This year I hope to be more prepared with ideas I can pick at random, and make use of the Mythic Game Master Emulator, originally designed to emulate the Game Master (or Dungeon Master, if playing Dungeons & Dragons), and allow a group of friends to roleplay without a GM (or DM), or to play a roleplaying game solo, without any other players (which is what I originally bought it for).  But when you read into the Mythic Game Master Emulator ebook, you learn that it can actually be used for writing a novel, ideal if you up against a deadline (such as Nanowrimo), and don't know what to throw at your characters next.  I'm hoping it will help me keep pressing on with my novel, when I'm stuck and feel I don't know where to go next.  It should also help it feel like a game too, making it more fun!  I might even try having a list of ideas or events, up to 100, that I can then throw a 100 sided dice (1d100 or 2d10's), to pick something at random to put my characters through.  I love challenging my characters, and seeing what they can survive through!

Anyone else thinking of their Nanowrimo 2015 novel?  I'd love to hear what you're working on and any tips you have for ploughing on through 50,000 words in 30 days!

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