Cariad Eccleston

Just a gin-filled dork.

Preptober 2017: Day 22/31

22 October 2017

A buttload of nothing.

Dead ends

I thought I had a couple of ideas for NaNoWriMo last week, but I didn’t want to share them because they were so rough.

And yeah… they didn’t work out.

I spent a few days pouring out the outline – and believe me, getting inspired by the ideas wasn’t a problem! – but as the plan coalesced into a story, it became painfully clear that it really needed to be the second part in a military science-fiction space opera trilogy.

There was too much to set up – and too much to wrap up – in just a one-month sprint.

So I filed it away, and fired up another empty page.

Dead brains

For most of last week, I didn’t have a single idea. I was brain dead.

Anxiety from my day job has been killing me, and I’ve been wanting to escape into sleep more than I’ve been wanting to escape into words.

On Saturday, I went to bed at 4:30pm because I was too anxious from my day job – still, from Friday! – too anxious to relax, or think, or anything.

It was a fitful sleep. I woke up a few times, and scrawled out some notes for ideas I thought I might like.

I even woke up at 5am this morning feeling kinda jazzed about those notes.

…but after four or five hours of working them into an outline, I’ve realised they’re another bloody dead end.

What started out as a light-hearted satire of privatisation, came out onto the page as a horrific story about immigration detention centres and slavery.

I tried to backtrack and retcon to make room for some laughs, but I couldn’t figure it out.

I can’t tell you how fucking determined I am to write something – anything! – that could be described as a “fun romp”, but my soul just doesn’t seem to work that way.

So I filed it away, and fired up another empty page.

Hang on… could this work?

I cleared my mind.

I let my thoughts drift.

I thought about my home town, and what it would look like in a fantasy setting.

I thought about my job in my home town, and how that would translate into fantasy.

Instead of an office where software is written, could it be an office where… spells are written? Where magic is crafted? But that implies mass-market access to magic, and that sounds too manic – and a bit obvious.

What if… it was fortune-telling? What if these folks worked nine-to-five divining the future for folks who are willing to pay for a nudge in the right direction?

Okay, there’s a possibility there…

…so what could go wrong? What if our protagonist… divined a fate for a stranger, not a customer? What if the fate was so terrible, it sought her out and she had to act? Despite knowing the future can’t be changed, she had to try?

What kind of thing could she have seen?

What kind of help would she need to seek?

What would be her personal arc?

Is there an interesting and meaningful theme here?

What are the definitions and limitations of magic in this world?

I blasted out some ideas, and – once again, because we’ve been here before – I think I’ve got a plan.

Tick… tock…

I’ve got one week left to get this idea outlined.

One week.

Next Sunday is my last Sunday, and then we’re slamming into NaNoWriMo.

I’ve run out of time for trashing ideas and starting over. I’m committed – right now – to this idea being my NaNoWriMo project.

So far, it looks like a story I can start and finish in 30 days.

So far, it looks like a story I’d love to read.

So far, it doesn’t have any insulting trivialisation of real-word horror.

So far… I’m optimistic.