If you are as old as I am, you might suspect that the
title of this post refers to the old “Mork and Mindy” show. But if you’re hipper than that, you probably
know I’m talking about NaNoWriMo.
(Uh oh, I think I may have begun a NaNo post that very
same way last year. Have my blogs become
A couple of years ago I spent the month of November on a
YA novel that had an overarching theme, a tale of mythical adventure, a young
heroine, and literary references galore.
If you haven’t seen it on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, that’s only
because 1. it stunk, and 2. I never finished it, and also 3. it stunk. Maybe I’ll go back to it. Maybe I can make it good. Or maybe I can’t get past the boggy middle,
now or ever.
I have less time now than I did that November, and even
less confidence in my ability to write fiction, but still… I might do it. If I do, I will avoid themes of any
sort. I will eschew any social agenda
related to promoting girl lit. I will
stuff whatever erudition I possess into the closet and proceed with only one
goal: maximum fun.
No outline. No
character sketches. No plot points
decided in advance. I’ll do it the way
Stephen King does: start with a situation.
I am a middle-aged female writer
attending a writers’ conference somewhere other than here. NYC? Maui? An unexpected event will change my life.
I am a middle-aged female mom on a
ski vacation with my family. But I don’t
ski. What will I do while husband and
kids are on the slopes?
I am a middle-aged female blogger
attending the first ever Xanga Ball.
Everyone is there, wearing nametags with their online identity. Meeting one of you (but who?) will result in
a cascade of events that will be of no importance whatsoever, but will be
Did I mention that I’ll be writing in
first person, using a character very much like myself? I told you I’m no good at fiction. Third person is too hard.
Finally, I will post what I write, so
you can all make fun of me.
Who else wants to NaNo?
More story starter possibilities:
4. The doorbell rings one Saturday afternoon. I answer and find a scary clown on the doorstep.
5. Speeding down the highway at the standard Seattle freeway
speed of 6 mph, I approach a broken down vehicle on the right.
The driver, a scary clown with a large knapsack, stands beside the car
with his thumb out.
6. Shopping for jeans at the mall, I take my selections to the
checkstand. The red-haired clerk stands with his back to
me. “Excuse me,” I say politely to get his attention. He
turns and grins at me with a wide painted-on smile. His bow tie
is floppy, his shoes are enormous, but his eyes…evil.