So many people were so encouraging during this year’s 30-day, 50K writing challenge, I thought I’d at least post what it’s about. All of course still pending. 🙂
I thought I had a fairly interesting take on a story for this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. A man whose wife has died from cancer “picks up the pieces of life,” in a sense, and starts dating again and tries to raise his teenage daughters. Actually, it was pretty boring. So for awhile, it turned into a romance, and THAT was even more boring. Then I figured I needed a good plot twist so SOMETHING, ANYTHING would freaking HAPPEN in this boring, boring story. So an illegitimate child of the dead mother came back looking for her. Then it became a bit of a soap opera, and that was extremely painful and awkward. Got stuck at 20,000 words. But I found I was really interested in the three daughters and how they responded to their mother’s death.
Then I thought it might be interesting to have the ghost of the mother come back, and tied in another idea I’d had for a child who could talk to ghosts. That was a little more interesting, but still very Ghost Whisperer kind of blah. And the story was still about the dad, and I’ve been working on the idea for the little girl who talks to ghosts for awhile and I was loath to sacrifice her story to tell that of the boring dad.
Then at about 40,000 words, it all came together. The mom, in the original story, was a teen psychologist and everyone who saw the ghost saw her in a lab coat. I had kind of wanted to connect the girl who talks to ghosts with the concept of “indigo children,” which according to some have “special gifts” and according to others, have ADHD. The original story behind the illegitimate child was that the mom went to France on a research grant, and had a baby that she gave up for adoption while she was over there. It was never clear who the father was. Then boom, like a crazy pharmaceutical experiment,* the ideas between psychological research grant, France and ADD somehow mushed into an evil force behind the research grant. The mother’s benefactor is using the mom’s research (and a few other key scientists’) to find a way to control teenagers and stop them from thinking for themselves. The experiments performed on the teens used powerful medication (yeah, this part I have to work on) and somehow it affected the mom in the story (also that part)….and her children. So, long story longer, over the course of three or four books, the daughters end up with superpowers, solve a series of mysteries left by their mother to stop the illegitimate child from gaining access to her research, then go to France and destroy the evil Benefactor, donate the research to charity, win boyfriends, gain a stepmom when Dad marries his new girlfriend, and then the Zombie Apocalypse happens. The End.
At it’s core, I guess, it’s not very original. But it was fun to plan, fast to summarize–and about three sentences after I changed it to a children’s story, It was SO much more fun and interesting to write. The whole tone changed and became a lot less serious, and I got interested again. Guess this means I’m a children’s writer after all.
PS If you’re wondering when it’s going to be ready to read….not for a long awhile. I’m going to spend December transcribing from my notebooks and fleshing out a few new characters and key scene. Then I’ll save it, archive it, back it up, print a hard copy to look at later….and go back to my very first NaNoWriMo story, which involves time travel, pirates, a crazy old lady with a mysterious dog, and more saving the world. Probably no ghosts, and definitely no science experiments. Ok maybe a ghost or two. Zombies maybe. Have been wanting to work on that story for awhile, but I wanted to get this year’s NaNoWriMo novel out of the way first. Hoping to have this one wrapped up by the end of December and will start on the older story by January, with the goal to be “pitch to an agent” by the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference in June 2012. Then after I’ve revised the crap out of that one, I’ll probably pick this one up again.
*No, the plot was not conceived DURING a crazy pharmaceutical experiment.