Creating the outline

Bio Dixies For the past two weeks I’ve been struggling to come up with an idea for my NaNoWriMo project. While I feel like I am not doing well with outlines I am not a pure discovery writer either. I need to have some idea and some world building to get started with any story.

Child of Ceres was based on an idea that was years in the making and even after that I polished it for at least two months prior to writing even the first page. For SleepZone I spent one afternoon brainstorming weird ideas one of which was “there is a serial cat murderer on your street”. After the brainstorming session it took me at least another week or two, to get started writing. For my unnamed fantasy story I had about a month from “I have a genre but no idea” to the deadline, and I made it from idea to “finished” story in about 3 weeks. That left me with slightly less than 4 weeks for my NaNoWriMo preparations and I started out with no idea at all. I checked out my notes of old ideas and I found that I didn’t like any of them. For most of those ideas I have spent considerable time in the past to try and get them ready to be turned into a story and failed.

So while I was finishing the revisions of the unnamed fantasy story, I started thinking about the next project. Somehow it slipped into my mind that it would be a SciFi story. Then my subconscious weeded out all the SciFi subgenres that do not apply to me: hard sf – never, I couldn’t do the research; military sf – no for the same reason as hard sf, plus I am just not into that; space opera – I like to read about spaceships but I don’t like to fly them; dystopia – lately that one screams young adult at me and I don’t feel like writing YA, at least not right now; so my subconscious went for the grown-up version of a dystopia, also known as cyberpunk. A genre more or less founded with one of my all-time favorite books: Neuromancer and it combines the two things that fascinate me the most about SciFi anyway: future technologies and future social development and how they impact each other.

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Pre-NaNoWriMo Writing Update

I finished Sleep Zone about a month ago. It’s now ~15k words long and would be counted as a “novelette”. If you are interested in reading it, let me know in the comments and I’ll provide you with a link. I haven’t published it yet on the blog. Not sure when I will do that.

In the meantime I have also finished a short story in a fantasy setting – I submitted this to an “open submission” about a week ago. I’ll know more by the end of the month. However, I have heard that on such occasion hundreds of stories are submitted, in this case for 2 + 5-7 slots. So chances are my story won’t make it.

Right now I am preparing for NaNoWriMo (or: National Novel Write Month). The goal of this is to write 50k words in the month of November along with thousands of other writers. I got started quite late on my pre-writing. All I know right now is that it will be in the science fiction genre, set in the not-so-distant future with both dystopian and cyberpunk elements. It will probably not qualify as young adult, even though dystopias lately seem to be all young adult (Divergent, Mazerunner, Hunger Games – if you check those that were made into movies).

I have a couple of characters that are already begging me to let them talk. Since I am more on the discovery end of the “discovery-vs-outliner” scale, I won’t be able to build a complete outline ahead of time. But I do need to have a general sense of direction and a solid setting. I am struggling with the latter. Some ideas are already fixed in my mind but I still lack a certain central element also known as “plot device” or if I don’t have a good idea a “Mac Guffin“.

Oh and since they are now out of stealth mode: come join Write On (I should have invites or you can request one at their site) and read my stories there 😉 I will probably post raw updates of my NaNoWriMo progress there as it is being written or I may not.