NaNoWriMo, Day one. I knew I wanted to reuse the universe and characters from my last novel, but was still undecided about what I wanted to do with them. Should I try to rewrite the same story? I had gone into August without a plan, and ‘pantsed’ my way to 50,000 words without an ending. Now that I knew where the action was headed, perhaps I could start over and give it a proper structure.
But where’s the fun in that? Creating an outline and a timeline for the existing story felt like documentation work, not writing. Save that for the winter months. Maybe I could pick up exactly where I had left off, and give that story a proper finish. Or instead, I could begin the sequel immediately, maybe drop in on the characters years down the road, and let them explain the cliff-hanger in flashbacks.
I was indecisive. I procrastinated for a bit, then wrote for an hour. Without a clear decision on where the action would begin, I fell back on a gimmick. I started out with my heroine asleep, dreaming about a strange alternate reality. The twist is that she is seeing our world, because the universe of her story differs from ours, and I thought I needed to establish that from the start.
I wrote in spurts of 30 minutes, and took hour-long pauses in between. I filled up the screen with almost 1500 words of description, and most of it was tedious. Boring. Then it occurred to me that what I needed was a fresh point of view. I still wanted to tell the same story, but I needed a new reason to revisit the facts.
So I switched from third-person to first-person voice and invented a new character, someone who is investigating the events of the previous story. Here is my excerpt from today’s final burst of writing, which took me past 1,900 words for the day:
It was Luna Day when I got the assignment. My editor buzzed me at home that morning, early, before I was even awake enough to plan my day. I was still trying to decide whether I was going to get my Spirit Service out of the way at the first session or wait until evening group where there was a chance I could talk to the cute singer. Before I could flip a coin for guidance, the signal came in and lit up the comms.
I knew it was important even before I opened the two-way. The boss had never sent me more than a simple text outside of work, and now here he was, requesting face time on a holiday. I sat down at the terminal and hoped that he wouldn’t care what state my hair was in at this time of day. At least he couldn’t see that I wasn’t wearing any pants.
“Good morning, sir,” I said as the camera settled on auto-focus. He wasn’t looking particularly well-groomed himself. I wasn’t sure whether this should put me at ease or make me worried.
“Ben, I’m sorry for intruding on your personal time,” he said to me. The tone of his voice let me know that this was business, not fun. The editor of the biggest news organization in the city was not known for having fun.
Right now, I am looking at putting my heroine on trial, and this reporter is being sent to cover the proceedings. Of course, he will begin his own investigation, and probably dig deeper than he should. This could be fun after all.