Thursday, November 04, 2010


Or National Novel Writing Month, for those unaware and curious.

Basically, for the duration of November you attempt to write (at least) 50,000 words worth of novel (~1,666 words a day). I considered doing it last year - which would have made more sense, given I was on a whole "I want to be a writer" thing - but I didn't for some reason. What's different this year? Mostly the competition. Nothing motivates me more than competitiveness :D

Hurray for Twitter.

A novel, by their definition is a long work of fiction, and under that definition a collection of short stories can count if they share a common theme. Which is good, because I could not think up a novel worthy plot. Plus I'd probably lose interest and give up part way through.

I had a collection of old ideas (and one that came to me in a dream a couple of weeks ago) but had to come up with some dubious link.

Anyway, I chose mental disorders.

But not in a "this person has this condition, look how weird they are" sort of way. More in the way that Fight Club is 'about' Dissociative Identity Disorder, how Memento is about Anterograde Amnesia or how Truman Show could be about paranoid schizophrenia (think about). It's more a plot device. Or something like that. I'm not savvy to the literary lingo.

I called it "Twisted Smiles & Fractured Minds" partly because it fit, but mostly because it sounds cool.

The stories so far are:

Day 1) His Missing Face - Body Integrity Identity Disorder (based on the dream)
2) My Beautiful Eyes - Narcissism, and the opening to a series
3) Prologue - a flowery vignette (see below for extract)
4) My Imperfect Rock - continuation of narcissism, with mild codependency
5) My Broken Mirror - either Anorexia or Bulimia. Possibly. The third in the narcissism series.

(Titles subject to change)

I'm being vague in the off chance I let you read any of them. I don't want to give any spoilers :]

Much beyond that, I'm going to be scraping the DSM-IV and wikipedia for ideas - which is another bonus to having mental illness as a 'theme': plenty of potential jumping off points. Also, mental illness is just plain fascinating.

I am finding, though, that the ideas seem better in concept than in execution. Not that that's too much a problem, since quantity matters more than quality in NaNo.

You can find my profile here, and watch my word count if you're so inclined. Or, since the site's a bit slow and unresponsive at the moment, you can see the 'novel' summary and an extract in the screenshot below.

NB/ It's not all written in the style of the extract.
Click to embiggen. Cover art uses this stock image. Font based on my handwriting. It could be better, but it'll suffice.

And if you're also doing NaNo, feel free to add me as a buddy.

Whether or not you'll ever get to see what I write for NaNo will very much depend on how I feel about them once it's over and whether or not I can be bothered to edit them to bring them up to an acceptable standard. I'm a poor judge of the quality of my own work and usually end up hating it, so that may never happen.


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