Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nanowrimo Fever

I'm going Nanowrimo this. Again. For the past two years I participated in the November write-a-thon. Both times I failed to reach the 50,000, but in the case of last year, I finished the novel I'd started before Nano—which is what I usually do—so, I quit writing and went back to my normal life. This year I'm doing the same. I have an historical novel I started a few months ago that stalled and went into hibernation. I switched to editing and revisions of other works. When I realized Nanowrimo was coming up a light flipped off in my head—not safe while drinking—and realized this novel, that was up to 30,000 words. Adding 50,000 to that would give me a nearly completed novel.

In preparation, I dove back into researching the time period—1850s New York City in and around Five Points. The book had started with a 6-year-old-boy who watches his entire family in a cholera epidemic. Taught by his father never to accept charity, the boy flees attempts to put him in an orphanage. He ends up on the worst streets in the Points—Little Water, Mulberry Bend and alleys like Bandit's Roost, Bottle Alley and others. He befriends a dog and her two half-grown puppies. He spends almost a year on the streets, a small invisible thief. During that time, he never speaks. When eventually he is picked up and put in the Five Points House of Industry.

It takes weeks to get the mute boy to speak again. Even then he doesn't fit in with other boys. There's more, but that gives you an idea. In the end it seems, at this point anyway, that it was a good choice. I'm almost at 14,000 words and still going strong. Mind you it's only the 7th day so there's still 43 to go. One piece of unexpected fun I enjoy is working on covers for the books. That and titles. Here are two I did:

To see images of Five Points go here:


Tina Donahue said...

Your historical novel sounds fascinating, Pat. Can't wait to read it when you get it finished.

I've never tried the Nano thing - sounds too much like work to me. I like my writing to be fun. :)

Fiona McGier said...

I've heard of authors sweet-talking their publishers into bank-rolling them to go visit the country they want to set a novel in. But there's no way you could hop into a time machine and do the same! Good luck with the research. It must be a relief after immersing yourself in this milieu, to look around and realize you're not living that life!

jean hart stewart said...

More power to you. I've never been tempted to try Nano. Don't know why, and hhope it's fun for you.

Pat Brown said...

I'm lucky, I love research. But you're right, I find that time is fascinating, but there's no way I'd want to live in it. It's like it has all the vices we have, added on top of pandemics, no sewers, primitive medicine, no safety standards for anything and children worked like slaves in jobs none of us could imagine. But I love coming up with characters who do live in that world and survive the worst it can hand out.