Friday, August 01, 2014

DECISION 2014: Pete's NaNoWriMo Project!


I am working overtime over the next few months to clear my schedule for NaNoWriMo.  For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month.  I highly recommend any writers among you check out their website.  It's essentially a community that gets together every November to encourage each other, and challenge each other to write a novel of 50,000 words or more in a single month.
So I'm planning on doing it this year, and I have two projects in mind.  A stiff breeze could blow me in either direction.  Both ideas are pretty sketchy at this point, and have a lot of room to grow, so suggestions are most welcome.  I'd love your help in choosing a project.  Which one would you rather read?  Tell me in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Option 1
Working Title:
The Last of Us
Plot Overview: 
After a civil war that destroyed most of the five settled worlds, Earth lies in ruins, forgotten by mankind.  Only a planet called Kent--an ocean-world in orbit around Alpha Centauri B--survived the war.
In the generations since the war, a voluntary human extinction movement led by an artificial intelligence has resulted in the slow decay of civilization.  Most humans have chosen to sterilize themselves, or to abstain from reproductive sex.  The planet has become an agrarian paradise; verdant life now covers all evidence of the world's hyper-industrial past.
In what was meant to be the final generation of humans, our protagonists (a couple, I'm thinking), begin to question the culture of decay.  It's the only thing they've ever known; there is no contact with other worlds, and there are none left in the older generations who defy the established order.  But they decide to dig deeper into the origins of humanity's choice to die out, and they find that their ancestors have been manipulated by the artificial intelligence (not sure if I'll even introduce the AI until this point, it could be a twist).
Seeing the crime that has been committed, our protagonists desperately search for a way to save the human race.
Undecided Matters:  
1. Should the protagonists be sterilized at birth?  It would present them an interesting challenge.  How would they preserve their genetic material?  Could they overcome their sterilization?  I don't know.
2. How should it end?  Should it have a happy ending?  I'm generally a fan of happy endings, but I enjoy a bleak story every now and then.  Should I kill off the human race? Or should they escape the planet?  Or maybe send their genetic material off in a "message in a bottle"?  Or maybe they learn there ARE still humans alive in the universe, and die safe in the knowledge that they weren't really the last ones.
3. How many protagonists?  A couple?  Just one?  Or even a whole group, who start a rebellion?
Advantages:
1. I'd be working with a setting I've already established pretty well.  I'm writing a novel right now that takes place on Kent several hundred years earlier.  And the decayed version is a pretty cool setting.
2. Lots of interesting socio-political stuff.
3. Very open-ended, which is good for NaNoWriMo.  I need something flexible to work with, or I'll get stuck.
Disadvantages:
1. Even if the good guys win, it's still a pretty grim story.  It'll be a tough sell to publishers.  Maybe.  I don't know, maybe people like grim.
2. It could get TOO political.  I don't like to get too political, in my writing, or in my life.  It makes people say and do ugly things, even when they're preaching peace.  I don't want to get into political debates with people.  Because every time I have, people who I consider my friends turn really shitty.  Even people I agree with get shitty.  So I don't wanna get pigeon-holed as a political dude, because I'm not.

Option 2
Working Title:
Knowing Then (it's a reference to the phrase 'If I knew then what I know now')
Plot Overview:
An ordinary man lives an ordinary life.  He's happily married, but otherwise unfulfilled.  He's not very confident, and feels like he doesn't have much to show for his life.  Then, for reasons as yet undetermined, he goes back in time and meets his younger self.  He gives his younger self all the advice he needs to become a better, more confident, more successful person.  Then when he returns to his own time, he is successful, but he's married to someone else.  He never even met the original woman, and he has no memory of her.  So he feels like something is wrong in his life, but he doesn't know what.  And he doesn't love the girl he's married to now.  Then, he accidentally meets the woman he was married to in his original life, and he is irresistibly drawn to her.
Undecided Matters:
1. I have no idea how it ends.  Because there's a character I've been toying with for a while, whose story would REALLY make this book interesting, but I'm not sure how the path I have him on already would link up to this story.  And if I don't use HIM, how does it end?  Does he get the girl?  Does he have to go back in time to change things back again?  Or can he have it both ways without hurting wife #2?
2. How he goes back in time.  If I use my existing character, it will be because of supernatural reasons.  If I use a new character, it could still be supernatural reasons, but it could also be like a superhero-style accident, like a science experiment gone wrong.
Advantages:
1. It's a good idea.  I know it.  It's gonna be a good story, once I figure out all the details.
2. It's a love story, at its heart, and those are the best kind of stories.  It'd be an easy sell to publishers.
Disadvantages:
1. I don't know if it's novel length!  I think it might be a 30,000 and under story!  A beefy novella at best.  And I don't know what else could happen to beef up the story without adding too much!
2. I REALLY want to use my existing character, but that might trip me up, and get me stuck, and I can't afford to get stuck in NaNoWriMo.

THERE IT IS.  Tell me which one you'd rather read, along with any suggestions you may have!  Anyone who gives me a good idea gets a prominent thank you in the acknowledgements!!! LOL.

#writing #books #ebooks #nanowrimo #novel #novelist #reading #sciencefiction #scifi

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