(I promise this title is less a brag and much more a “oh look, is there any way I can slip the word “might” in to some sort of pun based title)
Couch to 80k podcast is a writer’s bootcamp with daily exercises by Tim Clare and is part of his Death by 1000 paper cuts blog.
Glad your still with me, if you are, and if you’re one of the few people I’ve chatted to tempted to do this bootcamp too, tell me how you’re doing!
Ok, this week we finally take off the training wheels and begin the nitty gritty of actually writing a novel. NOW… I’m not that interested in writing a novel, I don’t feel I have any great big long form work in me (maybe we all have one book in us, I don’t feel like that – I do feel like I’ve hundreds of stupid stories in me, well, mostly stupid, and that’s fine by me).
A recap of what the bootcamp has covered so far…
Week 1 lists (enjoyed this)
Week 2 Timed free writes (enjoyed this)
Week 3 Using Personas / Masks can unlock content (struggled with this)
Week 4 Stylistic Choices (struggled with this)
Week 5 Emotions (ho boy, this was tough)
Week 6 Metaphors and Similes (struggled with this)
If you know me, you’ll know, my long term aim is comic writing, and I started this bootcamp simply to build the confidence that I could do that. I’ve currently laid out the plot of a 40 page Bondian adventure that I’m chipping away at (I’ll either pitch this to Dynamite or turn it into my own super spy adventure)
But a novel? Nope, no interest.
That said, it’d be a bit of a cheat to get this far in the bootcamp and abandon ship now (though I have form on this).
So today Tim asked us to type up a bunch of things that we might consider our novel about and if you don’t already have a novel, maybe some things a novel could be about. Prefacing each statement with the words “it might be…” so we don’t end up too fixed in our ideas. We want the flexibility to move and change as the writing progresses and to be open to other, potentially contradictory possibilities.
I hard to start with something… and so I began with what I know
(And feel free to ignore the rest, but these are my novel notes… lame, unimaginative, idiotic and raw and ready to be abandoned at a moment’s notice)
It might be a novel about a man whose life is very like mine who goes through an extraordinary adventure and ends with him realising that he has the best life already.
He might work a dull job, as an office clerk, in accounts. Possibly he’ll find something or something that shouldn’t happen will happen to him. Something that suggests the world is deeper and more complex than he assumes (maybe despite his longing for a more interesting life he’s long since settled into assuming it’s never going to get that interesting). He might be a game player, someone whose day time is spend dealing with numbers, he may well keep fantasy figures at his desk. He might be single. Or separated. He may be 30, He may be a virgin.
He might open a doorway to another dimension, or unexpectedly find himself the nexus of some great prophecy, a hero to an entire universe.
He might be required to save the kingdom, the girl, and become king.
He might return to his own world, changed, but glad that things aren’t just as nuts.
His name might be Peter.
He might love a work collegue called Carol-Anne or Caroline, or Carol or Carrie. (Maybe carrie, which he likes because it’s the same as Carrie Anne Moss from The Matrix)
Maybe creatures arrive on earth as he’s walking to work and he has to help them.
He might be an engineer, and maybe this skill will be what saves them?
He might reject the princess. He might sweep Carrie off her feet.
He might have a mild stammer.
He might be glad that the universe is simpler where he’s from.
He might have to fight the mighty villain. (this might be, basically the plot of He Man)
He might say something like “Jesus, what the hell am I supposed to do, I’m just an accountant. I’m not even sure how the coffee machine works!”
And the princess might respond “No, my name is not “Jesus”, nor do I know what a coffee machine is, but you are aCountANT! Hero of my people”
He may be part of a propecy, he may have accidentally altered their future, he may have accidentally altered their past.