Week One is Done?!

We’re one whole week into NaNoWriMo 2021 and I am horrifically behind on my writing goals. But hope is not lost! A serial panster, I tried something new this year. I actually had myself a Preptober and planned my entire novel! It wasn’t all that difficult, but it was absolutely necessary since I am tackling a project I’ve had in mind for almost 10 years. When I was in the third year of my undergraduate degree, I took a course on Elizabethan Shakespeare, studying only his plays from that era. On the syllabus was Titus Andronicus, and I fell in love with the story long before we even watched Julie Taymor’s visually stunning 1999 film adaptation Titus in class. Ever since then, I’ve had a rough idea that I wanted to re-write the story in a sci-fi setting, with Titus as an android.

And then that idea was promptly shoved in the “to be written” folder in the back of my brain where it was abandoned for almost a decade.

Finally, I have reached a point in my writing journey where I felt confident enough to tackle this particular idea. And, now that I’ve settled on horror and sci-fi as my preferred genres to write – something I did not have figured out 10 years ago – I saw an additional opportunity present itself. Titus Andronicus is considered to be one of Shakespeare’s most violent plays. The deaths and cruel forms of torture are perfect fodder for a horror writer.

The all important Preptober Notebook

Throughout Preptober, I took meticulous notes as I re-read the play, jotted down ideas for how to convert ancient Rome into a far-off sci-fi world, and marked off any moments where I could really dial up the gore and horror. I’m thrilled with the notes and ideas I complied, but don’t think this means I’ll be turning into a full-blown planner after this. I don’t mind this kind of note-taking for research purposes, but it doesn’t always work for me in terms of creativity. I find I write better – and enjoy the process more – when I’m a panster.

Okay, maybe I’ll be a bit more of a planster after this year.

Despite all of my planning, however, my first week of NaNoWriMo was off to a rocky start. Between appointments, work, and personal matters, I found myself squeezing in a few words here and there whenever I could. However, that was not enough to hit any writing goals. I certainly won’t be earning the “Achieve Daily Par Every Day” badge this year. But that’s all right. I know exactly where my story is going, and my schedule for the rest of the month should allow for much more writing time. (You can probably hear me knocking on wood from wherever you’re sitting right now).

But even though I haven’t gotten a whole lot on the page yet, I am so pleased with what I’ve written so far. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before. In fact, it’s started to veer off into the sub genre of military sci-fi – a genre I have very little experience with. So I’m excited to see where this goes.

Good luck to everyone else participating in NaNoWriMo this year!

Week 1 NaNoWriMo Badges. I’m looking forward to earning more!

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