Thursday, October 11, 2012

NanoWriMo Prep: Finding that First Line


NanoWriMo is on the horizon. The famous month long dash to throw 50,000 semi-coherent words on the page in a quasi-functional plot with the hint of a theme and-- oh hell who are we kidding?  Some days we are lucky if one scene remotely transitions into the next.  Our editorial side of the brain is trying to dig its heels in to fix the problem while the heedless side is trying to make the word vomit hit the page.

I have a concept.  Every year I continue to write the next book in my science fiction series "A History of a Wired Nation." Except this year I was motivated to begin the next installment over the summer. Soooo... I've decided the tackled the next one in line, a bit tricky considering I'm not exactly sure what will happen in the one already in progress.  Yes, this is giving my editorial side of my brain nightmares.  Shhhh, editorial brain.  Just meditate or drink some decaf or something.   I know very little about this year's story.  I know that two characters need to meet up again in a professional realm.  A rogue district is being annexed.  An underwater facility is being created.  There is an election and someone is trying to prevent the election from happening.  Possibilities include a golem detective, the revenge of Goldilocks on the three bears somehow transformed into a modern fight against corporation, and a vampire ware platypus (thanks to the suggestions of my Facebook friends).  Yup, sounds like a regular NanoWriMo story to me.

But how to start it?  All week I've pondered this.  A lot of interesting things have happened this year that have resulted in some good lines, but most are just regular dialogue stuff.  Given it's October, I actually started to panic.  And then, in some lazy conversation with someone I'd never met, the opening line came out of his mouth:

The cat is on Prozac.

Err... what the hell does that have to do with anything listed above?  Nothing.  And that's the best part about numbing the editorial side of the brain.  I give NanoWriMo tons of credit for teaching millions of writers worldwide how to do this.  The gods know I couldn't get the rough draft of a novel done until I participated.  And honestly it took two or three attempts to succeed.

So sign up now!  Plan now!  Though you can't officially start writing until November 1st, you can start outlining.  I always recommend using the Snowflake Method because it provides structure without hindering creativity.  Then start to really listen to the people in your life.  That killer line is out there.  You'll know it in your body when you hear it.  It's like a siren calling you to write:

The cat is on Prozac.


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