I have made a Herculean decision to participate in National Novel Writing Month 2010. It’s a writing endeavor with 160k participants worldwide that takes place every November, and within the 30 days of each November, the goal is to write one 50k word novel. This is the same novel length as The Catcher In The Rye by J.D Salinger or The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It will be the first time in my life that I have completed a novel. I attended the introductory session in Naperville, thanks to the encouragement of my wife Cathy, and I met some great young authors who have done this writing marathon—about 1700 words daily for one month—in recent years with success and poise. They were motivating to speak with. And I will be attending the Kick Off Party (I’m responsible for the case of water and cheese tray) this weekend. At least 35 writers will be in attendance; another shot in the arm for me to do this project.
I have two plot lines running wild in my head, and really could, as of this writing, go either way with them. One is about an old man that builds a seaside beach with two young teenage brothers in the summer of 1975, and their summer parallels that of the winning season of the Boston Red Sox. The old man, Delbert, unfortunately finds that he has cancer, and keeps his terminal diagnosis from the teens, but as their dedication to the project wanes, Del must coax them into staying with the task at hand so that the beach can be completed by the summer’s end.
I know, it sounds like a downer, but it will have many inspirational events that summer—the eldest brother Justin falling in love, and a fateful trip to Whalom Park—that tie in with the front story. I will keep it moving, and keep it twisting, but it is a work of literary fiction (as opposed to popular fiction, such as a thriller).
The other story idea has been floating in my mind for at least two years, and is about a twenty-something surgeon, Rick Spencer, and his new wife moving into the home of the late, beloved doctor in a small town. The young surgeon finds incriminating evidence that the deceased doctor may have had a hand in the deaths of some townspeople, children specifically. He’s morally torn between telling the town about the deceased doctor, or “letting dead dogs lie”. The ante is tweaked when the town begins to rally against Rick, for reasons he can’t grasp, until he finds that the entire town had a hand in the deaths of the children.
This would be a Stephen King meets Robin cook type story, with more plot twists than a black mamba. It sounds, if done properly, more intriguing than the beach building story, admittedly.
I’ll keep you posted about the final story in the days ahead. The goal, overall, is not only to prove to myself that I can do it with writing, but also to get a working base—the right plotting tools, software, typing skills, endurance and word-skills—to build a novel of true value.