It’s Sunday. I spent all day yesterday either out, or watching my Stargate SG-1 DVDs. I expected to be writing, catching up on my NaNoWriMo novel, which got set back this week by a few things, but instead decided to–well, I haven’t decided anything yet.
But the story? It’s sucking. Hard. Maybe you can help me out here?
The story tells the tale of this guy, Nicandro, who’s… well, hell, I don’t even know what he does. That’s part of the problem. I don’t care what he does. I don’t care about any of the characters in the story, except one, Grandpa (also named Nicandro), and he dies in the second chapter.
So maybe I should make the story about him.
Anyway, the story deals with Nicandro and some of the situations that come up during the holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) after an especially tumultuous set of years. First, in Halloween, we learn of some of the challenges he’s faced in the areas of health, romance, religion and death, and that sets us up for seeing how they’re resolved (or dealt with) over the next three holidays, as well as what happens when they crop up again. Thanksgiving, for example, continues the whole religion question, but focuses more on family issues, including the whole romance. (Problem is the guy’s married, but a friend who was more than just a friend shows up in his life, which leads to some conflict.) It also focuses more heavily on money. Then Christmas focuses almost entirely around money and religion. By this time, things are getting weird between the “friend” and Nicandro, and that begings to spill over into other parts of his life. At the same time, he’s making strides in fixing his money situations and we begin to understand how religious and family issues begin to get resolved. Finally, there’s New Year’s, where things are resolved (somewhat), and new challenges arise, but now that we know Nicandro we can guess how he’ll meet them.
In short, the novel’s one giant flashback after another. And it doesn’t really have a bad guy, it’s more like a literary novel, which is unlike anything I’ve ever written. For the most part, most of my stories have been about discovering a good guy or a bad guy, about lessons learned and about awakening, but none of these have been novel length. I guess I’m left wondering whether I’d want to READ something like this novel, let alone WRITE this.
I’m considering dropping Nicandro’s story and going with Grandpa’s story instead. Maybe after the death, Nicandro finds diaries outlining his grandfather’s various adventures during travels, but… that’s sort of cliche. Or maybe Nicandro goes insane and becomes a cult leader and, strangely enough, retains his place as the hero of the story. Perhaps some sort of catastrophe hits, and the story… completely and utterly changes. I don’t know. But I think the point is that perhaps it’s time to revisit the drawing board.
Time is short. If I want to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, I better make changes and make them fast. And I have to get more interested in this story. Some story.
Honestly, I think the bulk of my problem is that I haven’t read anywhere near enough novels as of late. I’ve been so busy with other things that reading novels has taken a back seat. (And yes, I’ll put the blame here on watching too much Stargate SG-1. I’m on the fourth season, which is really, really good. I’d blame it on Heores, too, but this season nothing short of sucks.) Last night, I picked up Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvouz with Rama. If I’m going to start somewhere I might as well make it in the pages of a novel by one of the greats, right?
The scariest part in all of this? Like most of my characters, Nicandro has a somewhat autobiographical aspect. Problem is, he’s turned out to be far more autobiographical than I’d anticipated. He’s not me, but he does have similar challenges (plus a number of his own). And maybe that’s my problem: he’s too close, and I’m just too boring. Also it violates one of my core rules, which is to never base characters on real people, not even myself.
Maybe it’s time I sit down with Nicandro and Vevila (his wife), Andrea (a long-time friend), Gallah (his sister), Gallah’s kids (Thor, Eddie and Kay), Andrew and Maysun (his parents), Warcraft the cat (who likes to hang out in the toilet), and Dobbie the smiling dog and see what makes them interesting. Part of me wonders whether this is smart, considering my time constraints, but that part’s quickly silenced by the knowledge that if I don’t get that done then the novel will remain unfinished.
For those of you who I know will ask, I decided not to write about Monkey because the NaNoWriMo rules state that it has to be a new concept. Monkey already has a history, has characters, has a world, and I wanted to follow the rules and start from scratch. But who knows, maybe I’ll end up tying this to that anyway. Actually…