NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing

Preparing for NaNoWriMo: Day 2

Image by evilnick via Flickr

Last spring, I wrote a short story for a course I was taking on literature and humor. It’s the story of a girl who is told by a boy that he spray painted something on a train trestle; something she would be very interested in seeing. So this girl and her best friend decide to ride their bikes out to see what he wrote and, as with any good work of humor, hilarity ensues. 

I really like the characters I created for this story and have been considering using them for my NaNoWriMo novel. The girls are loosely based on myself and my own teenage best friend. Of course, one character needs to be the main character, so my best friend’s poor character is relegated to side-kick status. I changed a few things about us: some parts of our appearance and some of our habits to enhance the story. So, the characters truly are fictional, even if they do sound familiar to those who know us.

But my point is, I like these characters, and would like to see where else I can take them. So, I have decided to develop this story into a novel. And this novel will be the focus of my efforts in the month of November. Yes, this will be my novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

OK, so I have a novel idea for NaNoWriMo. But at this point, it truly is only started. I have a short story, but a short story can not automatically be expanded into a novel. The short story has a conflict, but not a large enough conflict to stretch it into a novel. So, my next step is to decide on a conflict for my novel. Because there must be conflict. There is no story without conflict. What can I do with these two teenage girls to make them grow and learn and come out stronger in the end? How can I test their friendship, take it to the edge of disaster, and then bring it back, stronger and better than ever?

Oh, the hazards of being cast as a character in a novel. To write a truly good novel, I have to take these two characters, who are near and dear to me in many ways, and think of something really heinous to do to them. (Or not? Maybe a not-so-heinous conflict will work?) I may even need to think of ways for them to hurt each other so they can realize what they had only after they’ve lost it. How, I ask you, can I test my characters without killing them? And make it fun to read?

Ah, there are just so many questions to answer before November 1st when NaNoWriMo officially kicks off.

~Mandy Webster

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