Tuesday, 9 October 2012

"Nana nana nana nana NaNo!" - Teens Can Write Too! Blog Chain, October 2012


“What are you writing for NaNoWriMo? Briefly explain how this book idea come about. Then write a mock first page for the novel.”


The prospect of NaNoWriMo used to scare the heck out of me, until Miriam Joy bribed me into it in 2010. That year, I scared myself half to death by writing a dark, disturbing, and chronically plot-hole-ridden dystopian novel. The next year heralded the arrival of a set of incomplete short stories, which had evolved out of a world building exercise for what, I thought, would be this year’s NaNovel.

I should know better than to try and plan novels by now. It only ever ends in disaster. And, in this case, that disaster involved so many knots in my brain that I took the coward’s way out and gave up on that idea.

One trip to Paris, acquisition of a street map of London, and several fever dreams worthy of a cracked-out Lord Byron later, the concept of my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel had well and truly bludgeoned all the competition to death and was awaiting its time to strike by filling my imagination with plot bunnies.

The story itself, Ikarus, is nothing like I’ve ever written before. Normally I stick to my forte, that of historical fantasy, but here I’ve decided to plug my nose and vault into a pool of a different ilk; steampunk. Steampunk, for anyone who doesn’t know, is basically mixing futuristic technology to a historical setting by adding bundles of cog-and-wheel-and-aviator-goggles technology to anything and everything you can get your hands on. For this, you can blame my love of meddling with the laws of science, in revenge for all those years spent staring at the classroom wall while my experiments single-handedly defied the laws of nature.

You can blame three days spent learning about 17th Century France amidst the gorgeous capital of France for most of the rest. The politics, the powerplay, the outrageous costumes, the sheer madness of life in general . . . I absolutely had to play with it. The map of London was simply to give me an idea of how to lay out such a city. The setting, the city of Scatterank, is the sort of place that results from 17th Century France crashing into a train full of Victorian London, and being splattered with liberal dollops of something that doesn’t really fit anywhere. You can see why I’d need a map, if I was going to set my characters running amok in it. As for the fever dreams? That’s where the characters came from.

Speaking of the characters, they themselves have become the real driving force for the story itself. Being the inevitable cultural, racial and nonsensical melting pot it is, Scatterank is full of all sorts of interesting people. I pushed a few more boundaries than I usually do in their creation, and they are certainly more complex than many of my past creations. Especially as at least two of them don’t set much store by the laws of gravity.

The narrator, luckily, has yet to demonstrate any more dangerous traits than being rather good at causing small explosions when meddling with things he finds under the stairs. Cue smugglers, conspiracies, feckless mayors and canny deputies, civil unrest, an unpleasant family legacy, wrathful gods, kidnap, murder, magic, irresponsible use of undergarments and . . . well, you can guess where this is going.

What’s more, I haven’t written from a first person perspective in over five years. It’s going to be fun.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to treat you to a supposition of a first page today – not in the least because this post is already far bigger than perhaps it ought to be. The simple fact of the matter is that, whatever I bash out here, the actual opening of the story will be nothing like it. Having a concept of the story is very different to knowing what’s going to happen, and, as the Yiddish proverb goes, “man plans, and God laughs”.

 . . . And yes, that is just a more delicate way of saying “I have no idea what I’m doing”.

For anyone who is still curious about the endeavour, you can hop on over to my NaNoWriMo profile to check out the "official" blurby thing for Ikarus, as well as tons of awesome forums, writerly tips, and other awesome stuff.

Feel free to send me a buddy request too! Let's bork our brains together!

~ Charley R

The rest of the blog chain, and all its fantastical posts, is here:


October 5th – http://www.lilyjenness.blogspot.com  – Lily’s Notes in the Margins
October 6th – http://realityisimaginary.blogspot.com – Reality Is Imaginary
October 7th – http://onelifeglory.blogspot.ca – One Life Story
October 8th – http://gabrielletheauthoress.wordpress.com – Of a Writerly Sort
October 9th – http://towerofplot.blogspot.co.uk – The Leaning Tower of Plot
October 10th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com – This Page Intentionally Left Blank
October 11th – http://whatupdates.blogspot.com – What Updates?
October 12th – http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com – Miriam Joy Writes
October 13th – http://cinderscoria.blogspot.com – Between the Lines
October 14th – http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com – Inside the Junk Door
October 15th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com – Musings From Neville’s Navel
October 16th – http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com – Kirsten Writes!
October 17th – http://mirrormadeofwords.wordpress.com – A Mirror Made of Words
October 18th – http://theteenagewriter.wordpress.com – The Teenage Writer
October 19th – http://platonicpencil.wordpress.com – Platonic Pencil
October 20th – http://markobrienwrites.blogspot.com – Mark O’Brien Writes
October 21st – http://amandafoody.blogspot.com – It’s All In My Head
October 22nd –http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com – The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
October 23rd – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com – Teens Can Write, Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

26 comments:

  1. Oo, sounds like an adventure and a half! Love the steampunk bit (only ever read *Fever Crumb* as steampunk, and it's a very interesting genre). Good luck with NaNo. I'm waaaay to chicken to ever try it myself (plus I'm very bad at plotting).

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    1. Hehehe, plotting isn't essential for NaNo - may people just start writing on the day and see where it takes them! It's loads of fun :)

      I'm glad you like the idea - I can't wait for NaNo to start so I can start playing with it!

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  2. Speaking of Steam Punk, I ought to read up a bit more on it... given there's supposed to be a bit of it going on in Tabithia.... yes I think I shall call it Tabithia. :}

    As to the inappropriate use of undergraments, I bet I know who that is, though there are others I wouldd suspect using them in amuch more jokingly way than the other. *snicker snort*

    I can't wait to do the exchange with you and Miriam this year! It shall be fun! (and I can't wait to see her post of TCWT... you make me jealous, I want to be a part of a blog chain that gives me topics!) :}

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    1. Ahahahahaha, I suspect you do - but he's not the only one! And it's not all for the pupropses you're thinking of ;)

      Aww, that sucks! I'm sure there must be blog chains you could join somewhere!

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  3. I have several friends who dive head long into NaNo every year. It sounds like so much fun, but I have several novels I am trying to complete already so I haven't tried it yet. But someday I hope to!!
    The steampunk idea sounds awesome. And I love the name. So catchy.

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    1. Heh heh, why not use it for a big rewrite? That's what I'm considering doing with a lot of my half-finished projects. Do join in one year, though - I'd love to seee you there, at least!

      Thank you! Took me ages to come up with, I'll tell you! :)

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    2. Seriously? You can use NaNo for rewriting?! I thought it had to be fresh and a completely new idea. If it's not...well, that changes my mind about a lot of things! :)

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    3. So did I! At least, that is what my friends told me! Awesome. So I could go ahead and do the book I am writing now if I so desired..... ;)

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    4. Dooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiiiit!
      You can use NaNo for anything, really, as long as you're writing from scratch (which is what I mean by rewriting), and it hits 50,000 words! It's in the FAQ :D

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  4. I went to NaNo and read the full blurb, and wow does that sound exciting! I don't envy the worldbuilding headache you may end up with, but the story itself sounds really neat and totally like something I would read. Also, I added you as a buddy :)

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    1. Aww, thank you! Mutual buddification coming right up! And yes, it is giving me a bit of a headache . . . I'm hoping it'll pay off, though, as I"m really excited to get going.

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  5. Oooh, this sounds really cool. I want to read it, and I never read anything just based on blurbs.

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  6. 17th Century France... Victorian London... Manipulation, politics, first person! How have you managed to read my mind? When you're finished, I want to swap novels and read this thing. Maybe.

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    1. If you fancy, I'm sure we could arrange it! I'm looking forward to your post today - can't wait to see what your devious mind has come up with!

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    2. I'd be happy to do so, if you feel the same way. And as for the post... I think you'll be slightly disappointed.

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    3. I wasn't disappointed at all - I'm looking forward to whatever piece of spontaneous writing you start out with! I'd be more than happy to novel swap, provided nothing too dangerous happens, hehe!

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    4. Okay, then, consider it settled. We'll see how things stand after November-- if they're slightly tipsy, I'm perfectly okay with swapping, but if they're sitting on the piano, I think something's gone wrong.

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    5. Excellent plan. Also, any involvement of oboes will render me incapable of commiting. Or trombones.

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  7. Your idea sounds like so much fun! I laughed at "irresponsible use of undergarments". And of course anything with murder AND magic sounds awesome.

    Good luck with NaNo!

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    1. Haha, thank you! I'm certainly looking forward to it - but methinks I'll need that luck nevertheless!

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  8. It sounds much more awesome described like this than from the few things I gleaned from your NaNo site blurb and a few comments here and there, ehehe :D

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    1. I suck at blurbs, y'know. I REALLY suck at blurbs xD

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  9. Aaaannnn, this sounds intense! Good luck with NaNo!

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    1. Thank you! I'm looking forward to it :D

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