Writin’ My Novel With A Stick In The Sand

The astute observer will have noted that my NaNoWriMo word count has not moved since the end of the first week of November. This is not for lack of updating — this is for lack of writing.

I had a strong start. I cycled between four subsets of characters, and wrote one chapter for each. I’ll share their synopses, even though you may not care:

Character Set #1 is a married couple who has recently suffered a miscarriage (art imitating life? what?), which is nearly unheard of in this future society of DNA analysis and “selective progenesis”. They go to therapy, as prescribed by their doctor, but it is unhelpful. The wife ends up submitting her late embryo’s perfectly healthy DNA to an online service which is able to provide her with digital images of what her child might have looked like at various ages. She becomes obsessive and delusional, despite the therapy.

Character Set #2 is a teenaged couple; he was raised at home, she in a centralized government children’s home — an orphanage of sorts, although her parents may very well be alive, but allowed her to come to term without having successfully applied to have a child. This couple ends up experimenting with multiple simultaneous partners and drugs — basically, the girl invites the boy and his friends to an orgy at the children’s home.

Character Set #3 is another married couple, but this couple has had their child application denied. The buggy DNA belongs to the husband, who is summarily sterilized so as to prevent his mutation from spreading into the gene pool. His wife is unable to face the prospect of a childless future, and serves him divorce papers.

Character Set #4 brings back a familiar face: the doctor from Sets #1 and #3. This doctor has been practicing since before “selective progenesis” became government policy, and hates having to have people sterilized and having to terminate pregnancies for a few shady genes (or SNPs, if you prefer — Amy, I’m looking at you). He joins an underground society whose focus is saving fetuses which would otherwise be “reclaimed,” or terminated and collected for research purposes.

There was almost a Set #5, involving a law enforcement official who specialized in finding people who attempted to subvert the progenesis laws. After writing about a paragraph, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the process of detective work or about the inner workings of law enforcement officials and their driving sense of justice. (“Think Javert,” I have in my notes on this character.)

When I started the cycle anew, I got to a roadblock. I didn’t know what happened next with Set #1. So, I skipped them and moved to Set #2, whom I liked better, anyway. Then I realized that my NaNo could so easily turn into a smut book, even though I did have a focus for their story (guess who gets knocked up and ends up connecting with the rebellious doctor to save her baby?).

Then I just got distracted, and, well, there went the NaNo. Now I have decent starts to three, count ’em, three stories. And that doesn’t count the dozens of shitty false starts I have, too.

I’m not overly disappointed. A little, sure, but think about it. This ended up NOT being the month I could or should have concentrated all my effort on writing. New job, mainly, plus stuff with the sangha and trying to wrap up some of my other long-term projects (which I haven’t officially wrapped up yet, and I’m feeling kind of guilty about… but more on that later, probably).

I’ll get back to it eventually. I’ll try to plow through it, too, NaNo-style, and not think too hard about the details. That’s what editing is for.

2 thoughts on Writin’ My Novel With A Stick In The Sand

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  1. Well, if you want it to be published, smut sells. You can sneak a plot, moral, and character development in there without the baser readers realizing it.

    Pop a gritty, pulp comic type cover on it with a quote from one of the sex scenes and ya got a best seller!

    Now if you want to write substantive work, I’d continue with number two…
    …with plenty about the characters’ supportive friends who want to be there for them in any way possible. 🙂