NaNo!

Well, we’re nearing that time of year again. This morning I received an email from the NaNo people warning that they’re about to prep the site for this year’s contest.

It’s still over a month away of course, but I think the biggest thing that kills NaNo attempts (or at least mine) is lack of preparation. If you’re writing a fantasy/science fiction story, you’d better have your world pretty well built by the time you sit down to even outline, I think. That can take a lot of time. I tried to do all that on short notice two years ago and it didn’t work out so well.

I’m determined to get a lot of material written for Kelly Sienna, The Scarlet Ranger. I’ve already got one published short story about her, plus several short exercises (mostly posted here somewhere, if you look around). A lot of her life story is written out in my head, so I think I can put together a pretty decent outline. It might be roughly broken down into something like this:

Part 1 – The Early Early Years, about Kelly as a young girl, when she first receives her powers and massive events that will shape the rest of her life happen.

Part 2 – The Teen Years, when she discovers just how different her powers make her, and must decide what to do with them.

Part 3 – Early Hero Years, involvement with the second generation Liberty Gang

Part 4 – The Experienced Years, as she comes into her own as a hero and her rocky romance with The Chicago Defender.

Something like that, anyway. That would be 12,500 words per section. 

 So now I’ve got to decide on a couple of things. Do I want to write it as several novellas? Should I avoid the decades-spanning story and focus on just one of those periods? If I decide to write a later period, will I regret limiting what I can do with the earlier times?

I’m leaning toward a novella of each time period. This way I may be able to avoid Star Wars-style continuity issues, and if I feel like there’s enough story in one, it can always be expanded. I may add another Part, which would give me five 10,000-word stories. If some fall short I can always fill in with much shorter one-off adventures. I don’t have a solid villain for her yet, so I could maybe do little flash pieces about whoever that turns out to be to fill in the gaps.

Anyone else out there doing NaNo? It’s daunting, but as I understand it, it becomes easier once you get it done once. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway.

3 thoughts on “NaNo!”

  1. Once you’ve “won” at NaNo the first time, it’s easier in the fact that you know that you can do it, which is really encouraging. Though, my second year I had to realize that just because I’d done it once, it wasn’t actually easier, per se. It still took the same amount of time and effort as it had before. But it was easier in the fact that I knew that if I put my mind to it, I really would succeed.

    I’m really interested in that later years story about Kelly and the Chicago Defender. I’ve been interested in that since… um… it was either an exercise you wrote about the two of them or maybe you mentioned it in Shades of Red… Either way, I’m definitely looking forward to that one. I bet you could make a whole novel out of that segment, if you wanted to.

    The way you described them above, they sound like novellas to me — connected, but separate stories. They all sound really good, so good luck fleshing them out during NaNo prep time! 🙂

  2. The later years will certainly be the easiest to write.

    Part 2 will definitely be the hardest. What the hell do I know about teen-aged girls? Anyone know any good books on the subject? 🙂

  3. Somewhere I have a book called “Queen Bees & Wannabes” — its a study of personality types of girls in high school and an in-depth look at girl cliques. If it would help, you’re welcome to borrow it. But I don’t see Kelly as the clique type really… This book was the basis for the movie “Mean Girls.” It was pretty interesting, and I could relate it to stuff that I saw/went through in high school, though I was never fully involved in the whole clique thing. I was always off in my own world. 😉 As a character study of personality types, I found it really interesting.

    Other than that, I have a lot of good fiction written about teenaged girls…

    If you’re interested in a meme, I tagged you over at my blog. Check it out, if you want. No pressure. 🙂

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