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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Next year's NaNoWriMo

I've been already thinking about NaNoWriMo for this November. NaNoWriMo is November Novel Writers Month. I stumbled across this last year about a week before the beginning of November. This year I am planning better.

This is the year of Steampunk. I plan to do steampunk one better. I don't feel the need to create some fantastical and marvelous but misunderstood contraption of iron and steam, because Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the world's greatest engineer and second greatest British person ever created the perfect steampunk prop in the Great Eastern. Further, it turns out the Wife's Great Great (Actually I can't remember how many Greats) Grandfather served as Seventh Mate aboard the Steel Leviathan on its maiden voyage in 1861. Brunel was unbelievable. I'd like to see any contemporary hipster steampunk stand up to this image:

I am thinking of a collection of four stories. The first will follow the building and launch of a ship about twice as big as any other ship afloat. Second the maiden voyage which was a disaster and a half,although the ship,as a machine,performed pretty well (with the exception of a funnel explosion on the maiden voyage). Third will involve the laying of the First TransAtlantic telegraph cable (I'm telling you, this ship was in the middle of a lot of cool stuff). The last story involves Jules Verne's trip to new York on the Great Eastern, where he wrote an absolutely terrible novel. But maybe he was really thinking through 20,000 Leagues?

In the tradition of great novelists through history, I decided to make a title banner ahead of time. The background is from Brunel's description of the ship's plans to the original investors, who lost their shirts.

Create your own banner at!

Last year's 50,000 word novel was a bit of a mess. I haven't shown it to anyone except the Wife. Her only comment was that it wasn't incoherent. I think that was a surprise.

There were some good things that came out, including a story of Buddhist monks in Tibet whose meditative powers had been secretly collected by Chinese hegemonic militarists. The goal of the Chinese was to colonize the Noosphere with WalMart outlets (of course, what else?). Meditative energy goes a long way in the noosphere. BecauseI said so. I had started with a story of old Jewish guys (after my very own gramps and some of his senior delinquent friends he fell in with after moving to L A) fighting the Chinese Zombie hordes in a golf course of the Noosphere with pie-filled golf balls. About half way through telling that story I realized that writing about whacky guys called Moe and Curly is a bad idea, since whoever thinks he owns the “Three Stooges” trademark is very litigious. Even though there is more than a sliver of truth in the connection.

There may be some short story potential here, but the novel showed some real problems when November ended and I had time to read what I had written. I had created major Mary Sue issues. It had gotten so out of control that the semi-autobiographical main Character and owner of the narrative voice actually didn't even need to be in the novel at all. Believe me, that's a mistake I'll only make once.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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