I’m in the process of prepping for NaNoWriMo (NaNo for short), something that may or may not happen depending on how absolutely insane November gets in the US between elections and fights for a SCOTUS replacement for Ginsburg. NaNo is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, which amounts to about 1667 words/day.
These posts are nothing more than an attempt to pull back the curtain on my own writing practices a bit on the off-chance you can learn something from own my mistakes and successes. I highly suggest skipping this category of posts if that doesn’t interest you, or if you’ve got you own process down to an art. I’m writing “out loud” my thoughts, which is probably closely linked to some kind of metal disorder, if I’m honest about it.
As things would go, it just so happens that the brainstorm has changed my mind about a few things. And rather than stick to any particular subject, this post will be a bit more rambling with respect to topics.
I’ve decided that “Red” is too basic of a name for a primary character. I already have “Wolf” for her cat companion and “Winter” for her eventual guardian/protector, so I’m probably going to change her name to something less simplistic. I’ve narrowed it down to Cereveny or Shani. The first, “Cerveny”, is not a given name as far as I can see, although variants for it being a surname can be found, and it is Czech for “Red”. “Shani” on the other hand has been established as a given name meaning “Scarlet” or “Red” in Hebrew. I have other reasons for hesitating to use the second name, but it is probably the better of the two. I welcome opinions about either, if anyone has any. I’ll decide eventually or find another candidate.
I think I’ve also determined that Red will not come from the forest, but from the swamp lands along the patrol path Winter and her partner, Stefan, are travelling along when they encounter her. I want her to arise from darkness and, while forests can be dark, forbidding places, I think that swamps have an entirely different level of creep associated with them. Plus, in the budding plot I’m working on, it helps to separate the forest and the place Red comes from. Still, she is alone and obviously out of place — something I expect to escalate when she initially pops into the tale.
Her “skills” are something she is not aware of. Indeed, they will first come off as an affliction. I have a sense of what they will be, but I’ll keep that close to my chest until it actually comes out in the course of writing, as it is not unheard of for the stories I write to tell me I have something all wrong and that “this, not that” is the real thing happening.
Plus I can’t reveal everything in my brainstorms on the unlikely event that this “novel” is actually one of my better efforts.
I think I mentioned before that the village in which the bulk of the story will take place is noteworthy only because it has a resource that is mined. This mineral is a fictional material refined and used to provide fuel to the mechs. This gives the semi-autocratic Republik an edge after they broke off from the kingdom of which they were part. When they declared their independence, they made sure to secure most of the known mineral sources in the former kingdom as their territory. While the kingdom does have some access, the bulk of this mineral was in what is now an independent state. The kingdom has never reclaimed the region, largely because it would require them fighting a war on two fronts, which they cannot afford to do with any hope of success, but the two countries do have a no-man’s march land between them.
The problem is, the village’s mine is largely depleted, although there are quotas that the Republik expects the village to meet.
The village leader, not quite an installed governor and more than a mayor (tentatively identified as the commissar) is a party man as long as it doesn’t get in the way of his enriching himself with his position. What the Republik does not know is that the commissar has found another source of the mineral that the government officials are unaware exists. And, he’s been secretly mining it with forced labor and selling the lucrative materials on the black market. His mine is located well within a forbidding dense forest on the village’s edge, one with folk tales that suggest that dangers lurk within.
Normally, that would just be your garden-variety of corruption, but as mining continues, there are greater levels of incursions by horrors that the folklore warns against. The villagers are unhappy, especially because they are the victims in whatever is happening.
Winter, Stefan, and Red stumble in on this, though the commissar tries to keep the villagers in line. As representatives of the Republik, Winter and Stefan are glared at and spit upon and generally mistreated by the villagers, who think it is the Republik, not the commissar, taking advantage of their situation and putting them at risk.
But the mining continues and the forest grows restless as a result. Winter and Stefan are ordered to quell any unrest and see that the shortwave communications with the capital are restored. Meanwhile, the frequency with which Red has her seizure-like fits increases and attacks from the forest grow in intensity.
Then, the cunning woman appears…
Honestly, I think the rest are details with respect to plot for the first of what I expect will take three acts. Act two will expose deeper issues until Red’s role is realized. Then act three will get around to solving, or at least resolving, the situation.
I’ll probably lay off these shared brainstorms for a while unless something interesting comes up in my process. I could see digging a bit into the characters, but I think the rest should be held back.
Thanks for putting up with my tendency to overshare this stuff.