Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm a loser at National Novel Writing Month. But that's okay, I'm also a winner.

It's interesting to write this way, with a deadline looming, being urged in odd little emails to write, write, write, without any eye to revisions. I usually start a novel with a fairly tight plotline laid out. For my last novel, I even knew how long each chapter was (roughly) and what would occur in each. 

For this novel, which I'm currently calling Mr. Pale Steps Out, I wrote up a simple plot paragraph -

A criminal, reminiscent of Stark's Parker, is accidentally trapped in a bomb shelter during a heist gone wrong in Utah in the 1950's. When he is released, seven long years later, he finds himself in a post apocalyptic wasteland. A new bomb that was being tested has detonated, releasing a series of deadly plagues, killing many, infecting others with diseases and causing mutations. Mr. Pale, dubbed as such by the large, simple man that frees him, joins a plot to rob a wagon train on the way to Las Vegas, carrying a load of The Sands poker chips that are now the accepted currency for that part of the West.

Since then, my plot has veered pretty wildly. I dropped the entire heist portion, deciding it would be a better story for a future Mr. Pale novel and decided on a simple revenge story. Then I added some flashbacks to the job that lands him in the bunker in the first place. Then a sub-plot with a commune and some madman named The Wizard. Re-reading it, I've decided that part is going away and changed the voice to present tense for the main portion of the book. At one point, I considered adding a third main character.

Needless to say, I've got a LOT of revisions ahead of me when I get done with this book. I'll probably delete well over 5,000 words and add a few more thousand back in. But when it's all said and done, I should have a tight, unique little story that I'm very happy with, and most importantly, I'll have gotten the spirit of writing back into my fingers. So bravo, NaNoWriMo, you've made me feel like a champion, 50,000 words or not.


  1. I'm glad you're still going to finish the story even though you didn't make the deadline.

  2. Absolutely! I already have images in my head of a series of six or more adventures featuring Mr. Pale, each a shorter novel length, like the classic crime novels of the fifties and sixties.