NaNoWriNo (National Novel Writing Month) is only a few weeks away. This is the third consecutive year that I’ve gotten excited about completing a 50,000-word story in 30 days.
This year, however, is a bit different.
In October 2014, I had convinced myself that I would pen urban fiction, and yes, I would do so under a pseudonym. Stripper poles, plugs, and lust wrapped in good storytelling. I was ready to do something new and a bit raunchy! Truth is, I f-a-i-l-e-d. I only made it to 3,523 words. For me, that’s about one good writing day.
Good news: I’m committed to writing this story one day. I like the main character (she’s country) and her trajectory to self-discovery. Who says that urban lesbian fiction can’t be done right?
In October 2015, I believed I was all geared up to write a post-apocalyptic story featuring a Black lesbian couple that is (seemingly) alone in the world. I landed at a whopping 3,717 words! Work, obligations, and other good stuff got in the way. So, I tucked that file away and it hasn’t been touched until today. I spent just enough time with it to spot the word count for this post. The women in this story are both introspective characters who may be pulled apart by forces beyond their control.
Good news: These women will share their story, even if for the span of novella.
October 2016 has arrived, and this time around I’m not gunning for 50,000 words. I don’t even plan to write. What I will do is devote the month of November to thinking. I will think about the story that I want to tell, and when I’m compelled to do so, I will plot. And when the urge to plot drives me to write, I will pick up a stack of index cards and record the scenes that are playing in my head. I will focus on characters, their names and motivations, their interactions and journeys. I will listen to what they’re saying and try to capture their exchanges before I’m distracted by something else. I will give each character a card and allow her or him to have white space— that is until I can add lines that bring value to their characterization.
Is this a manifesto?
Whatever the case, I feel good about this plan.