NaNo 11: I knew this was a bad idea

04 Nov


It took me a grand total of 3 days and 4800 words to lose inspiration for my novel. I knew this was going to happen eventually because A) duh and B) I still don’t really have a plot…but I was hoping that as I started writing and doing intro and suchlike that enough of the world would emerge that the obvious conflict would smack me in the face and say, ‘here I am! I’m your plot! Right here!”

Obviously this was a very silly hope. I knew NaNo was going to be harder this year than last (when I only made it to 43k, anyhow) because my idea wasn’t as solid and I wasn’t going to have constant contact with Mitu and my ex to engage my competitive spirit. And I don’t get to sit next to Mitu furiously typing and exchanging bizarre questions about the vocal capabilities of heavenly swans until November 23, which is just too far away.

Mitu, come here, I need you to make the writer’s block go away!

But man, I was not expecting to get bored with my own characters after only three days. Sigh. The plot is still hiding from me. I know it has something to do with telepaths–if you read my blurb, that’s why my protagonist finds herself exiled from Earth–but I don’t know what, exactly.

The other problem is that I find the whole idea of telepaths very…trite. Which is strange, because I’ve read a lot of sci fi with some form of telepathy (Grimspace, Stardoc, Enchantress from the Stars, Gabriel’s Ghost, anything in the Liaden Universe…) and enjoyed it very much. I suppose that is part of the problem; I’m well aware that telepathy is a classic sci fi trope. That doesn’t mean I can’t use it–many tropes can be quite enjoyable if done well, or done in a new and creative way–but it does make me wary.

On the other hand, telepathy seems like the kind of thing that would appeal to the Twilight set (ack, yuck, ptooie!) who are part of my intended audience (I’m so ashamed).

So I have to go with the telepathy. But I’ve been very resistant to it thus far, and I don’t see Cat as being a very strong telepath. There are several reasons for this–one, she’s just not; two, it would give her access to more knowledge than I want her to have; three, it makes it harder for the reader to identify with her. Cat is far from ordinary, but if she becomes too extraordinary for the reader to put her/himself in Cat’s shoes, or even to feel like she is their friend.

The idea I’m toying with thus far is that Cat is a weak telepath. She can sometimes make contact with minds similar to hers–minds which, for whatever reason, broadcast on close to the same wavelength. So she has better luck with people who are closely related to her by blood, or with random individuals who happen to ‘match’ her well.  (One of whom will probably be the love interest, because duh. Also, if it works for Jax/March and Miri/Val Con, it works for Cat/NamelessAttractiveTeenageBoy.)

Honestly, I just don’t see telepathy affecting Cat that much. She’d rather ignore it, being an Earther, and for the most part she can because her abilities are so low-level that she doesn’t even really have to bother with mental shields in a crowd.

Which could lead to conflict eventually–she’s been ignoring her abilities as much as possible, but they do get stronger as she ages, and eventually she has to deal with them. But that doesn’t give me a lot to work with in the meantime…

Eff it all, I’m going to watch B5 and eat ice cream and crochet. Maybe inspiration will strike mid-granny-square.


Posted by on 4.11.2011 in Writing


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5 responses to “NaNo 11: I knew this was a bad idea

  1. Zellie M. Quinn

    4.11.2011 at 10:27 pm

    Hey! Don’t give up. That negative crazy person in your brain is telling you your story is trite. If you think about it, every idea is somewhat ‘trite!’- Think, “Harry Potter”- Poor little orphan boy has scar on his head, cruel foster parents make him live under the stair, till an owl comes and drops off stuff…
    Or, Grey Wizard become White wizard, and talking walking trees help silly cute little men…
    Get my drift. I would love to read something about telepathy, if it was good and well written! No idea is trite. There is always an audience. Think about some of the best sellers out there, ie “The Help”, maid poops in pie…yuck. But all my neighbors and some relatives are raving about it. My kids read all the “Warrior Cat” series of books… YOu may just have something there!

    • Myriad

      5.11.2011 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! I haven’t given up yet, and hopefully I never will!

  2. mitukagome

    5.11.2011 at 1:01 am

    Do you have any idea how much I’m looking forward to sitting next to you at Thanksgiving, typing FURIOUSLY and asking you all sorts of crazy questions like “what’s the word for blaiehflsrdhglsdkfnglsh” with a whole lot of waving of the arms and shrugging and weird faces and you being like “prehensile” and that being the PERFECT WORD. For the record, the word of the day today on was prehensible which is where that PERFECT WORD came from in this example. But I want it to come from you. And it can’t come from you if you aren’t sitting next to me, also typing furiously and waving your arms like a maniac, muttering about how the GREEKS WOULD HAVE A WORD FOR IT because we all know that they would. So, you see, you HAVE to keep writing, because otherwise I’ll come to visit you and I’ll be busy typing and you’ll be all bored and like “why did I invite her in the first place?”

    So the real issue here is how do we find a way to make your telepathy not trite? Because, she has to have some sort of telepathy, because that’s why she was singled out in the first place. But we don’t want her to have normal, awesome, mind reading skills, so how can we make her telepathy just slightly off? Maybe it only works when she’s humming “Danny Boy” or she can only read the minds of people who are thinking about elephants.

    Or maybe part of your plot could be that she should have telepathy but she doesn’t, so she needs to figure out why. And it could turn out that there was a mix-up somewhere along the line, or something crazy like mind-control wallabies that like to teach dolphins synchronized swimming, but you just need to figure it out.

    And clearly, if you ever need any CRAZY ideas, you need to keep me awake until one am and sit me in front of a keyboard and tell me to type about whatever the hell pops into my head.

    On a related note, Rum Diaries was a pretty good movie. Really funny.

    • Myriad

      5.11.2011 at 6:15 pm

      I love you.

      It needed to be said. And I have had so many THE GREEKS WOULD HAVE A WORD FOR IT moments the past few days and you have not been here to share them 😦 I will figure out something with the telepathy, eventually….and now there will be wallabies. Because you said so. And because WALLABIES.

      • mitukagome

        5.11.2011 at 7:46 pm

        The wallabies were originally going to be giraffes, but I thought that was too obvious going from elephants to giraffes so they became wallabies instead.


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