Question: “Do I have to start my novel from scratch on November 1? Can I use an outline?
“This sounds like a dumb, arbitrary rule, we know. But bringing a half-finished manuscript into NaNoWriMo all but guarantees a miserable month. You'll care about the characters and story too much to write with the gleeful, anything-goes approach that makes NaNoWriMo such a creative rush. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate, and you'll tap into realms of imagination and intuition that are out-of-reach when working on pre-existing manuscripts.”
“Outlines and plot notes are very much encouraged, and can be started months ahead of the actual novel-writing adventure. Previously written prose, though, is punishable by death.”
With that rule in mind, I’ve begun outlining and planning my work for the NaNoWriMo challenge. Of course, I’m writing under the penname Ócháni Lele, and, of course, this novel will focus on the patakís of the Lucumí faith. I never think in terms of one project, however, and as I outline this I’m plotting and planning several novels that will take off from this first one. Each chapter of this novel will be the beginning focus of another novel, and if Obatalá lets me live a long enough life, in a couple of decades I will have a huge body of work exploring the Lucumí cosmos and the orishas that make up our spiritual corpus.
I’m very excited.
And that brings me to the point of this blog.
People: there is power in the written word. I know that has been said so many times that it’s worn out, but there is, and we have a religion full of ashé! We need more good writers, people who can bring the light and love and beauty of the orishas out of the shadows of our basements and into the sunlight of the world. If you have a story in you, a novel, but lack the motivation to write it, please join us on litdotorg (http://www.lit.org) so we can motivate each other to begin, write, and finish our projects.
Of course, one month of writing probably won’t create something publishable, but, after 30 days and 30 nights of reckless writing, each of us will, at least, have a partial or full rough draft of something. And it’s from that something that a finished, polished work of art will come.
The world began with one, and this is one month in which to begin something wonderful. Join me . . . join us . . . as we write with abandon.