It’s been almost a month since I last posted. Then I spoke of the inspiration for my NaNoWriMo novel, The Mona Lisa Sisters.
In case you’ve forgotten, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, is an annual event in which participants attempt to complete a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.
As I finalized my research prior to the start of NaNoWriMo, I began filling out Character, Minor Character, and Scene Cards. Introduced to these by Deborah “Jordan” Bernal, I find them invaluable.
Before I started at one minute after midnight, Friday, November 1, 2013, I had three characters, two minor characters, and ten scene cards arrayed in my work folder. When I finished at 5:00 p.m. November 21, 2013, I had twenty-four cards and 51156 words.
As a winner, I’m eligible for a happy face sticker, like this one:
I try to write two-thousand words a day, every day. Generally, I fail. NaNoWriMo forced me to meet or exceed that goal. Taking two days off, I still managed to average 2400 words a day.
Never having written a “Chick-Flic” story, I struggled with the lack of violence and expletives.
Back in October I gave my readers a hint, “There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.” I kept him hidden so far back that he could have been an afterthought. That is until I hit 30,000 words. In danger of running out of story line, I took a day off and pondered how to get another 20,000. Inspiration struck, as it often does, at 3:00 a.m.
I went back to Chapter 7, re-read it and inserted a new Chapter 8. The mysterious stranger now delivers in this and six additional chapters. I believe the changes enhance the story and help with character development.
It’s time to set The Mona Lisa Sisters aside and get back to A Tale of Robbers and Cops and Liberty.
A Tale of Robbers and Cops is the story of two illiterate Georgia teenage brothers. Brutalized on a chain gang, they commit a revenge murder locking them into a life of crime.
It’s been almost five months since I pitched Robbers to a publisher, and three since the publisher asked me to submit it for reading. I’m assuming the worst, so I will be rewriting once again.
Liberty is story about people, people who happen to be cops, gang bangers, civilians, and innocent by-standers. The gangs are violent and commit both random and orchestrated murders. The cops have flaws. The gang bangers, a few at least, have a good trait or two.
If you can get by the murders that occur in just about every chapter, it’s a fun read.
Not long ago I asked for help in developing an idea for the 50,000-word project I intend to complete in November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). http://www.nanowrimo.org
Help has not been forthcoming.
Monday at Julaina Kleist’s Polish Your Writing class, Julaina gave us an in-class assignment. She passed out copies of different photographs to groups of two or three. Emily and I were handed the below picture.
Our assignment, write an elevator pitch of twenty-five words or less. We came up with several pitches, none destined for fame.
While other students read theirs aloud, my mind began sketching out my entry for NaNoWriMo. After class, I went home and spent six or seven hours researching the story line. I DID NOT WRITE. I hope I didn‘t violate the rules.
Before I left class, I knew my story would be unlike anything I have ever attempted. Set in 1894, it is from the point of view of a twenty-eight year old widow. I will change the girls’ dresses into the appropriate design for the time.
I found a half dozen or so photographs and drawings. With the collection of samples, I can see the two girls, and my protagonist, Lura Grisham Myer. My problem is I can’t for the life of me describe women’s clothing. I could use some help. (Hint, Hint).
The story begins in New York several months before Lura comes across Mary Margaret and Ada Mae Dean viewing the Mona Lisa at The Louvre in Paris.
Cabs will play an important role in New York City.
Lura will travel to France on the SS La Touraine as a First Class Passenger. It is an entirely different ship when she is forced to return to New York as a Second Class Passenger with two young girls in tow.
I have several photographs and drawings that play various roles in the developing story line. I won’t share them with you now. It would give away the story line that will undoubtedly change as my characters journey from New York to Paris, and back. Look for an interesting trip for Lura and the girls. There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.
Next month will be my second foray into the world of NaNoWriMo.
What? You’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo hosts, pushes, beats, cheers, and helps tens of thousands write 50,000 words every November.
NaNoWriMo is on the honor system. The prizes are children’s stickers awarded weekly. My only competition is George Cramer.
One must write 1,666 words every day for thirty days. Last year I wrote 70,000 words, or 2,333 a day. The purpose of the event is to write a novel. No editing, no critiquing, just writing. All the other stuff one can do later.
In 2012, I decided to write for NaNoWriMo. Writers should “write what you know.” I take that to heart.
For NaNoWriMo, I fudged. I wrote about events from my sixteen years at the San Leandro Police Department. Those years at SLPD were some of the best of my life. I began a list of incidents, most at SLPD. There are a few involving Oakland PD, Alameda PD, Alameda County Sheriff, Hayward PD, and even one in San Francisco where I traded guns for heroin. (Shades of Fast and Furious – We didn’t let the guns walk.) Some are funny, some sad, some bad. Yes, bad things do occasionally happen in a police department. I created an outline of those I want on paper. Before I knew it, the list had grown to sixty-five, each a story worth telling.
I suffer from CRS. I knew the longer I waited, the less accurate these stories would be. I dug in on November 1, 2012 and started down the list. I didn’t get through all sixty-five, but I did get around forty written. Before you begin to worry, except for a few of my exploits, not all, and some outstanding and courageous officers, I changed the names.
The first novel, A Tale of Robbers and Cops, is at a publisher now. I expect the rejection notice any day. The second, Liberty, is about 50% complete.
As part of NaNoWriMo, I will start a new novel. I’m looking for ideas. Think of an incident, real or imagined and shoot me a note. If I use your suggestion, I’ll name a character after you.