Technically, Week 4 hasn’t started yet, and I was a bit adverse to skipping ahead even while so many other people were doing it – but since I’ll have other commitments in the near future, I decided to go for it. And this “week” has proven particularly fun: having gone over character creation, we now move onto building the story!
The first exercise involved the topic of research, which is definitely something I’ve enjoyed doing before. S0me of my Nanowrimo stories have involved a bit of research, like oneironautics in my 2012 story “Dreamscape”, but my biggest research effort involved my Camp Nanowrimo 2012 story, which was about the Titanic. Having recently been reading a few things refuting popular myths about the Titanic and things that the movies and TV series got wrong, I was determined to get as much right as I could. So I looked up an online deckplan, pictures of cabins, menus, the sequence of events during the sinking, the order in which the lifeboats were launched – and I really enjoyed it. I ended up with my most successful Nanowrimo to date (as in, it took me the shortest time to pass 50,000 words and was also the longest Nanowrimo I’ve done).
I would definitely say that when coming up with inspiration, it’s a good idea to think about what interests you and see if you can make a story out of it. Mind you, the course does warn us to not go overboard with research and showing it off, lest you lose the emotional connection to your reader – I’ve got another historical story on my list of potential novels, so I’ll definitely need to bear this in mind.
Anyway, the subsequent exercise was to take a story idea from our notebook and research three elements of it. I thought, “Well, I’d like to write something about the International Space Station, even if I’m not sure what the plot would be yet” – so I ended up researching the ISS’s daily schedule, the procedures involved when an unmanned supply vehicle comes to dock (a potential difficulty to overcome), and exactly what experiments are on there (I hadn’t been able to find much detail on these in other sources, but managed to find a very long list on Wikipedia). And once again, it was a very enjoyable process.
The rest of the week’s sessions involved turning observations into stories and plots (the two are not the same thing), further work on the latest idea (in which I tried to apply what I took from last week’s reviews and depict the character better) and coming up with ideas via images we encounter (which has happened to me on a couple of occasions) and our personal concerns – while I’d rather not share these on this blog, I did find that they don’t tend to find their way into my work that much so far, so that is something I could potentially work on.
So, main thing I took away from this week: I love research!