Sørina’s 1st NaNo narrative

PrintHere we are, half way through December, and I haven’t blogged about my NaNoWriMo experience yet. Here goes.

This was my first attempt at NaNoing. I was working on Ready-Made Grave, the same novel I began over the 3-Day Novel Contest weekend (Labor Day). My goal was to begin November with 45,000 words and end with 90,000.

I started with 41,829 and ended with 76,685.

CoverAh, well. That’s not total failure. Here’s what happened. I was trotting along, writing the 1,667 words or more every day with ease. I was on track for complete success. However, there was a nagging thought in the back of my head that had been there since I first began work on Ready-Made Grave. See, it’s a murder mystery, but the death doesn’t happen until at least halfway through. Up until that point (as this synopsis makes clear), it’s 13 artistic-type people wandering around a cemetery, trying to make art. So I didn’t have one “story-worthy problem” to drive the narrative forward, nor one through-line to connect the 13 characters to one conflict.

Then on Wednesday the 18th, I had a brilliant “Eureka moment.” I figured out my story-worthy conflict! Here it is: the leader of the artists’ group springs a surprise on them: after they’re all gathered in the cemetery, he announces that they are all locked in, and he won’t let them out until they show him an art project that’s good enough. They’re trapped.

I loved this idea, and for the rest of that week, all went well.

But then I got stuck. I couldn’t figure out the logistics of how to move material around to accomplish this grand new idea. And then I had a huge academic project to do. And then 3 days straight of cooking and traveling for Thanksgiving. Finally, on Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving (when I woke up two hours before anyone else), I got unstuck. But by then it was too late to make the NaNoWrMo word count.

Oh, well. Quality over quantity, right? Now I’m at 78,254 words and making good progress. Plus I’ve been working on two short stories and a poem recently. And that huge academic project I mentioned. So there’s been plenty of writing going on at Higgins’ Croft these days — just not 50,000 words on one thing in a month. Maybe next year!



NaNoWriMo synopsis

Here’s a little synopsis I wrote up for my NaNoWriMo novel. Your suggestions for revision are welcome.


On a sunny day in July, twelve members of the Independent Creative Consortium of Collaborative Artists and Writers gather at a beautiful cemetery for a day of work and inspiration. They are an eccentric group: a silent violinist, a man in a kilt, a rogue taxidermist, a gorgeous Greek godlike sculptor, and others of various media and madnesses. They joined at the last minute by an Australian adventurer. Throughout the day, they work, talk, weep, flirt, and fall apart. Their tensions, alliances, and enmities rise as the temperature gets hotter. Some are struck by inspiration; some are just stuck. It’s a wild time of sex, drugs, and poetry as they make music, make love, and meet ghosts. At the end of the day, exhausted, inspired, or in agony, they troop back to the gate—only to find that they have been locked into the cemetery. There is no cell signal in there. The walls are too high to climb. A thunderstorm is rolling in. And just then—one of their number is found dead, lying in a ready-made grave, forehead smashed as if with a blunt instrument. Torrential rains begin, and the twelve remaining artists gather in the huge communal columbarium for shelter and investigation. They spend the rest of the night interrogating one another, arguing, accusing: locked together in a house of the dead, seeking out the bringer of death. Will they discover the killer by morning?


Who is doing National Novel-Writing Month this coming November? 1414872206879I have decided to try it for the first time. Since one is allowed to continue an existing project (provided 50,000 words are written in November), I’m planning to keep working on Ready-Made Grave, my #3DNC novel. Here’s the story.

12010569_10207630660587505_3619537982960083159_o* I have just about 30,000 words right now, from what I wrote over Labour Day weekend and what I’ve done since.
* If I write 1,000 words a day in October, that will serve as a sort of NaNoWriMo warm-up and will bring me to around 45,000 words (allowing for Sundays and a few other emergency days off, since I’ll be traveling to Massachusetts to help my Mom, who is still recovering from heart surgery).
* If I write 2,000 words a day in November (still with Sundays and the occasional day off), that should be an easy 50,000 in that month, bringing the total to 95,000 — a good solid novel draft.
* Then I would like to edit it down to 80,000, which should make a tighter, neater story.
* I’m well prepped for at least the first half of the novel, since I did all that before 3DNC, and again afterwards, when I did a massive plot re-organization. I’ve got my nice Moleskin full of notes, my fancy Excel spreadsheet of events, and my glorious Scrivener file with all of that in. I’m good to go — until I get halfway through, when my planning will give out.
* So it would be a good idea to do more planning beyond the halfway point, if I can; but I’m not sure I can. See, the death occurs halfway through. I think I need to let my characters do their thing up to that point, and only then start planning the next half. That’s when they get locked into the cemetery overnight and sit in a mausoleum trying to figure out whodunnit.
* I’m also working on a synopsis for the NaNoWriMo website, and I’ll post a draft here soon for your feedback.Whodunnit_ABC

Do share other thoughts! What prep are you doing? Have you done NaNoWriMo before? Leave me a link to a blog post about your experience!