Every year (this is my 9th) I participate in the National Novel Writing Month
event, or NaNoWriMo. Some of you may have heard of it, some not. Let me explain.
NaNoWriMo is an international event in which people attempt to write 50,000 words of an original novel in the month of November. It's a hell of a lot of fun, a huge challenge, and I've used it to make leaps forward in my drafts each year, though I'm not always successful at writing the full 50,000 words. The last two years, exams really got in the way, for example, though I did win the three years before that.
Since I haven't had as much time to do reviews (or even listen to podcasts) for the last while - mostly because I moved and now have a 5 minute commute instead of an hour - I thought I would shift the focus of my blog more towards writing and my experience. To that end, I'm going to blog quite often this month about my NaNoWriMo experience.
So last year at this time, I started writing a novel called The Dreaming. Dreaming is about a lawyer, called P. Samuel Cox, in Toronto. He's a driven guy, really involved in his work, and very close to becoming one of the youngest partners in his firm. He has a wife named Kendra and a son, Damien, who is entering difficult teenage years. Both Kendra and Damien feel abandoned by Sam, who is letting his home life suffer because of his work, but Sam figures it's a temporary situation, that when he reaches a certain point in his career, he can slow down and take time for his family, whom he loves very much.
But Sam's biggest problem is that he has a special ability. When he dreams, he, in a very real sense, travels to other worlds. Worlds that really exist. What he does in those dreams actually affects real people in other dimensions, some of them worlds where magic exists. While the people in these worlds are often similar to the people in his own world, Sam is special, and unique.
One day, a mage living on one of the worlds Sam has never yet visited, performs a magical spell to summon Sam and force him to remain on that world. He wants to use Sam to affect his world and allow him to accomplish certain goals. Sam starts to have the same dream over and over, and for those dreams to affect and invade his waking life, such that he can't really tell what's real and what's not. At that point, his life really starts to fall apart.
I wrote the first 30,000 words of Dreaming last year, and I intend to do another 50,000 this November. I don't know if that'll mean the book is finished (likely not) but hopefully I can get enough momentum to finish it off in December.
When I began writing again yesterday, I was about halfway through Chapter 6. Kendra, Sam's wife, had told him that she wants a divorce, and he had spent the weekend at a hotel. Meanwhile, every time he falls asleep, he is encountering a fairy version of Kendra, who is just like his wife, only magical and has never met him before, in this magical world of Ching that he can't seem to get away from. He's been told that the King of a country called Gen is trying to capture him, and they've had some narrow escapes from the King's forces already. He still believes that this world is only a dream, and he and Dream!Kendra slept together one night as they hid in the forest.
Sam has an important divorce case starting on Monday morning, and in Chapter 6 he arrives at the courthouse after a horrendous weekend in which everything seemed to go wrong. Two of the firm's partners are there to watch his performance, so it's extremely important that he do well.
As he starts to give his opening statement for the trial, he begins to hallucinate. He sees magical creatures around the courtroom, and sees a little pixie creature stealing his files. He's bitten or stabbed by the pixie, and the hallucinations grow worse. He ends up passing out, and returning to the dream world once again. That was yesterday's writing session.
Today I wrote about Sam and Kendra in the dream world. They travel through the forest to a rundown castle, which Kendra says is safe and magically protected, and there they try to figure out what to do next. Sam is okay with basically hiding in his dreams, and is hoping that the disastrous incident in the courtroom was a dream, too. He's still not taking anything in the dreamworld seriously, and that's pissing Kendra off.
Sam learns more about Kendra's history, and about the King of Gen, whom they scry in a pool and see him casting a magical spell to try to find Sam. They decide to travel halfway across the world to the country of Qian, to seek help.
So far I'm finding the writing basically effortless as I'm doing it. I don't always know what's going to happen in the scene, though I know what I want to accomplish, and that's always both fun and scary for me. If I let myself go, Sam's inner monologue is fun to write and flows well, and magical things seem to happen. I wrote over 2000 words in less than an hour tonight, which is about twice my usual pace.
I really hope I can keep this up! I'm feeling really good about it, though. I hope you find the concept interesting and will stick with me as I go through this journey this month.