NaNoWriMo Coming! (Your help needed)

Yep, November is barreling down upon us, and it’s time to write another crappy novel in 30 days. I don’t think I’ve ever needed it more. I’ve also never felt less inspired. Those two facts are, of course, related.

Usually by this time I have ideas fighting in my head to become The One. This year, cue the crickets chirping. I have never felt so empty of ideas.

Which brings me to any readers who might happen by here. (Yeah, I know I haven’t given people a reason to be regulars lately.) Leave a suggestion in the comments. Don’t be afraid to be outrageous, or silly, or deep and heavy if you want. If anyone posts a suggestion, I WILL WRITE IT. Just like that. If more than one person leaves a suggestion we can have a quick vote, or I’ll let an impartial third party decide, or maybe I’ll just mash them together if the result would be amusing.

I’ll let the person with the winning suggestion read the result, though it’s NaNoWriMo — that may not be much of a prize.


20 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Coming! (Your help needed)

  1. A post-apocalyptic fantasy, in which the apocalypse was magical. The mages of the previous age grew vastly powerful and fell into a competition to develop ever-more destructive spells and curses, assuring that there would be mutual destruction if a war between mages ever broke out. So of course it happened.

    Heavy-handed allegory aside, it could offer a fun opportunity for world-building (and running up the word-count!) — as each mega-mage of the past would have had an arsenal of offensive spells to destroy their enemies and blast their territories, defensive spells to protect their lands (and vassals, and possibly allies), and curses that would come into play if they were defeated. In an all-out magical war, the entire world would have been awash in competing magics, and just about anything imaginable could have resulted from the interplay thereof.

    In addition to spells and curses, the mages would’ve created magically-enhanced weapons and armies, and perhaps Champions. Champions would have been allowed to operate independently, and thus imbued with great loyalty, as well as great power.

    Some of these Artifacts would have survived the apocalypse. Perhaps some of the Champions did too, finding themselves in a world where their bonds of loyalty are broken, since all the mages are dead.

    Of course, the magical apocalypse would have damaged any surviving Artifact, whether weapon, army, or Champion.

    What if a damaged Champion just wanted to settle down and quietly live out his or her (possibly immortal) life, doing something he or she liked… like brewing beer? What if other damaged Artifacts kept interrupting?

    Too much detail?

    • No such thing as too much detail when NaNoWriMo is being discussed!

      I’ve actually written a long-winded tale where the world is in a state of magical Mutually Assured Destruction, and at the end of my story that is breaking down, so this could easily follow. As long as I didn’t encumber the story with a plot, 50K words would be a piece of cake!

      On the other hand, I’ve been noodling around with a story about a spontaneous consciousness that emerges in cyberspace, perhaps by accident, perhaps by design. In my version, the consciousness chooses to take on the persona of batman and to fight crime; not a big stretch to duct-tape over that name and use Harlean.

      So far, two good ideas! More welcome, though. Encouraged, even!

      • “A Canticle for Lebowitz” meets “The Sword of Sha-Na-Na”: A world experiences cyclic apocalypses, some caused by technology, some by magic.

        In each post-apocalyptic era, both sides try to gain the upper hand. The technologists hate magic because it flies in the face of Reason and empowers a small number of randomly-gifted individuals, while the mages hate technology because it limits wonder and empowers the common man.

        In the era following a magical holocaust, a band of mismatched heroes embark on a quest for a game-changing Talisman from a previous Technological Age.

        Do they have any idea what this object does, or what technology even means, or is it simply an opportunity to oppose The (Magical) Man?

        Following a world-shattering apocalypse, do the emerging Mages (reconstructing their craft from the ruins) have any idea what they’re fighting against?

        Could the technology be a printing press?

    • Hypothetically, if one were writing a story like this, how would a broken hero from an age that almost destroyed the earth swear? I keep wanting to use ‘goddam’ but that’s a bit monotheistic for the product of a society where mortals aspired to become gods.

    • I’ve been running with this idea, and it’s working out all right. But tonight I thought of the funny angle to this world, and I kind of wish that’s what I was writing. It’s about a guy whose job it is to clean up all these crazy-ass artifacts and throw them into active volcanoes. Basically a high-risk EPA story. Might be fun. If the story I’m working on fizzles, there might be an unsettling shift in the narrative.

  2. I, too, have never before approached a NaNo with such a feeling of utter unpreparedness. About all I know is that I’m going to kill of the insufferable mother of the roommate I had in the hospital when Gerald was born. That woman did just about everything possible to destroy her daughter’s dreams of motherhood and sense of power as an adult woman, turning a 27-year-old who had done a lot of studying and planning to make the very best life for her son into a cowering toddler who cringed at every commandment. I will be glad to kill the bitch off. I just don’t know how I’m going to do it yet. And, since that was a particularly dark time in my own life, it’s going to be a challenge to write about it.

  3. LOVE the idea of the technology being a printing press! Of course, along with it, there must be increased literacy. That could be a challenge for the technology supporters, especially if the magic supporters have the upper hand, at least initially.

  4. James Patterson runs across a novel detailing horrible deaths wreaked upon his hapless co-writers, and plots his diabolical revenge…

    • For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with Step on a Hack — a couple of Novembers ago I wrote a story in which a bunch of horrible, horrible writers are killed in spectacular fashion based on scenarios their protagonists survived. The victims all shared co-writing credit with one Penn Jetterson, once a consistent producer of blockbuster fiction, now a complete sellout.

      The novel was inspired by the truly awful Step on a Crack by (nominally) James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.

    • And this just in! A NaNo pep talk from the pat-man himself!

      His advice ought to be: Noveling is easy! Get some other talentless schlub to knock out a forgettable story, then put your name on it!

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  6. Swear as in profanity or as in oath-making? For the former, sex, excrement, pain, and higher powers are classic choices, with maybe occasional references to the might of nature/weather.

    • More about profanity. For ‘light’ profanity, I found my self going to higher powers — “God only knows” — but higher powers in this world won’t include some single God. Unless that’s the name of one of the (probably) long-dead wizards who blew things up. A side note: some of the main characters were created by those guys. Might make for some variations on ‘yo mama’ insults.

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