Countdown to NaNoWriMo: 35 days

Okay, I can practically see October from where I sit, typing this. And so, my thoughts on this “Countdown to NaNoWriMo” series turn, inevitably, to my own meager attempts at coming up with something for 2013.

As usual, I have a bunch of ideas and no clue which one to pick for expansion. And as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking at using an outlining process similar to the Snowflake Method, which suggests that the very macro level summary should be a single sentence of no more than fifteen words and without including character names (though an exception is made for names of people so well known that the name itself is a key detail, which is why I break this rule a couple of times below). The author of the Snowflake Method suggests using the New York Times bestseller list as examples of such descriptions.

Perusing the current bestseller list, I only see a couple of descriptions that intrigue me, and one of those breaks the “no character names” rule, to wit, Sue Grafton’s W is for Wasted which gets a capsule blurb of “A homeless man inexplicably leaves $600,000 to Kinsey Millhone,” as I’ve read the series up to N is for Noose, I know that Ms. Millhone is a private detective and a bare bones mystery of simply “Where did the money come from?” is enough of a plot driver.

The other one that appeals is Nelson DeMille’s The Quest with the relatively meaty “An elderly priest, recently escaped from an Ethiopian jail, is joined by two journalists in a search for a holy relic.” This also breaks the Snowflake rules by being over fifteen words long (I make it 21 words, but feel free to double check my count.) There’s a lot going on in that description, it gives us a sense of characters, an objective, some obvious hardships (and I wonder why it has to specifically be an Ethopian jail…) and a classical plot structure (the titular ‘quest’). All that would be more than enough to get me to consider at least checking the book out at a local library.

But what of my own efforts? Well, of the ideas I have simmering up in my brain case for NaNoWriMo 2013, I’ve already referred to two of them in yesterday’s blog entry and linked to excerpts that might charitably be called pre-first drafts. I’ll put out their capsules here and let you, dear reader, figure out which excerpts I’m referring to.


“Merlin tells the real story of King Arthur to patrons of his twenty-first century pub.”


“America loses two Presidents in twenty-four hours, and the Vietnam War is forever changed.”

Those were my initial concepts for the ideas that became “The Bear of Albion” and “One More Shot,” respectively. I kind of want to return to these plots as I had a blast writing alternate history in 2010’s NaNo, and it’s a rich well to return to, and also because I’m a bit of a King Arthur nut.

However, both of those kind of go against the spirit of NaNoWriMo as they aren’t created from whole cloth (not that I much mind rebelling).

Two more ideas that hang around are:

“A dissolute knight is possessed by a century-old sacrificial victim to overthrow a cruel god.”

(That one has the provisional title “Facets of Amethyst,” backing up my “I’m lousy at titles” point from yesterday.) and:

“Alien-enslaved humans attempt to overthrow their masters as another race invades their planet.”

That one is underdeveloped in terms of plot, but I have several key characters realized.

And finally, an idea that I failed to do anything with at the last two Camp NaNoWriMo’s but one I think I have a handle on now:

“What if the apocalypse happened, and nobody noticed?”

Do any of these capsules sound like they have potential? If so which ones? Or should I investigate the “adoptables” forum for a plot?

One thought on “Countdown to NaNoWriMo: 35 days

  1. Pingback: Countdown to NaNoWriMo: 20 Days | Thoughts of a Lost Limey

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