So, another November has come and gone and left me with two hundred plus pages of handwritten manuscript - the result of taking part in NaNoWriMo 2012. It's going to take months of pushing, pulling, tweaking, twisting and viscious kicking before it will even begin to resemble a novel, but that's fine, it's a start. I've got the basic building blocks of the novel out of my head and onto paper. The journey has begun and, though there's a shed load of work ahead, I'm really excited by the prospect.
When I registered my novel on the NaNoWriMo website I put it in the category of horror / supernatural. Sixty odd thousand words later and I think the novel would easily qualify as a psychological thriller. There's still a definite element of horror in there but I'd be pushed to claim much of the supernatural. Paranormal? Perhaps, but then we could get into an argument about the semantics of the terminology.
It would be much easier to label the manuscript as "weird" - and, in my book, "weird" should be a formally recognised sub-genre of speculative fiction.
The shift from horror / supernatural to psychological thriller is probably a sign of my lack of formal planning before I start writing. You won't find any post-its or timelines, character profiles or plot structures dotted around my house. But, since about March this year I've been imagining scenes, dreaming them up and letting them grow. The whole story developed organically, I just joined the dots. I'm free to go pretty much where I want, or rather where the characters decide to take me. That said, I do have a sense of where I'm supposed to be going from the scenes I've already had running through my head.
One thing I don't do during November is read - whether it be fiction or non-fiction. Apart from not having the time I don't want threads of someone else's story permeating my manuscript. I also don't want to get depressed by reading a polished story when my own work is still very much a rough scribble. Once I've got my first draft committed to paper then I'm happy to start reading again. This is what I'm most looking forward to in the first couple of weeks of December. I've missed my regular fix of fiction and I can't wait to pick up my Kindle again and immerse myself in the imaginary worlds waiting there.