Thursday, September 19, 2013

Planning vs Pantsing - NaNoWriMo 2013

I know it's early, but as you know I am already chomping at the NaNoWriMo bit. For those who don't know what NaNoWriMo is an epic challenge: write a novel in the month of November. 30 Days. 50 000 Words. Yes, that is the correct number of zeros.

I won NaNoWriMo last year (by that I don't mean "came first" or anything. EVERYONE who finishes 50 000 words is a NaNo winner) and am firmly addicted to the rush of hurtling through a story at 1 667 words per day. The feeling is kind of like caffeine on a high. So naturally I want to do it again. Duh.

Now according to the NaNo lore and prophets, there are two ways of writing your NaNo novel. Planning (self explanatory) and Pantsing (flying by the seat of your pants). Last year, having discovered the notion of NaNo in the 20s of October, I pantsed it. Largely, anyway. I had a more-or-less chapter plan scribbled somewhere on a piece of paper. I had a couple of characters developed a couple of days before starting...but that's about it. Perfect for my episodic, fantasy-ish romp of a story. Short of words for the day? Insert a new species of monster, and some flashy spells. 

But this year I'm thinking about emulating some of my favourite authors of all time and writing a golden age style detective story. Think Dame Agatha and her coven of cronies. Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L Sayers... *happy sigh* I do love a good murder mystery. If I had the creative energy to write Poirot or Lord Peter fanfiction I SO would. small problem... as we all know, a good detective story is built on timetables, and alibi charts and stuff. Turning clocks back, train schedules, tide tables, that sort of thing. Just the sort of thing which is impossible to make up on the fly. Not at 1000 words per hour, anyway. And in any case I may, possibly, skip over those pages in detective stories. I want to get to the good stuff, you know?

I have some ideas about how to do this without making myself miserable with tables and boring alibi charts, such as making characters like I would create computer game/dungeons and dragons characters. If and when I carry these ideas out, I will share them. Judiciously, of course, so as to save you all from the spoilers.

But basically, if I want this year's NaNo to be a win for me, and if I don't fall back on the interesting zombie apocalypse/teacher twist that is still a valid possibility... I need to start planning. Like, now.

So, er... bye! No time to talk. I'm planning...

yours prudently

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