Here I am again (only a week late finally getting this done).

With November fast approaching it’s time to have a look for some ideas for Nanowrimo.

During the year I’ve jotted down a few notes on possible plots and have got a few characters very sketchily sketched out.

While in years past I have pantsed it & still won, my finished novel was such a mess I didn’t even attempt at getting it past 1st draft. This year I want to have something at the end of November that has potential to be half decent and not another saved file left hidden on my hard drive .

However, reading back through my hodgepodge of ideas I’m in a panic as I realise I have NOTHING planned enough and am fast running out of time.

Thankfully our region’s helpful (co) ML has arranged  online chat sessions during this month of October (NANOwrimoPREParationMOnth) for us to map out our novels.

We’re studying the seven basic plots , first analysing a popular novel and how it fits into a particular plot structure, and then exploring how we can use the generic plot structure to create our own stories.

For our first session we looked at the plot  Overcoming the Monster’, studying how the first Harry Potter book fits into this structure.

As we went through the book, looking for main events which fitted into the generic form, I thought back to the story I had written for last year’s Nanowrimo. As we discussed the adventures and perils faced by Harry Potter and his friends; how each small battle fits into the wider story arc, whilst also preparing the main character Harry for the final big showdown (of this book anyway) against Voldemort, I realised the faults in my own novel. Whereas Harry had to earn his XP, honing his powers and gaining knowledge through the minor setbacks; my main characters stumble through the story by sheer luck and bumbling enthusiasm, never having learnt the skills to allow them to win the final showdown, or earning the right to their end reward.

All of my three main characters were the annoying types (apt to run off into the woods alone at night, or go down those creaking stairs into the dark cellar) that end up meeting a gruesome end in many a horror movie. They’re book geeks rather than cheerleaders, but they come off about the same level of stupid; characters that make you root for the monster to get them.

I had created not one, but three ‘Mary Sues’ . Luckily all is not lost, after all it’s only a first draft which I may not bother to rewrite. If I do decide to go back and tackle the triumvirate of badly written book nerds I have some good advice to help me on my quest; 6 ways to save a Mary Sue.

As well as giving me some pointers on how to improve my previous novel, our first story generating session was also a good kick start to ideas for this coming Nanowrimo. I have the seed of an idea based on the ‘Overcoming the Monster’ plot, where the roles are reversed; the ‘hero’ is a monster (vampire is overdone, so some other ghoul) and the ‘monster’ is human (perhaps a priest or necromancer).

A good start to the month. Roll on November.


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