Earlier this week I came to a decision, quite possibly a very foolish decision. I have decided, after much humming and harring, that this will be the first year I tackle the daunting behemoth that is NaNoWriMo. I have for many years had the intention of participating, but this is an intention I normally don’t remember until sometime around November 28th, but which point it’s a little bit on the late side, unless you’re the sort of madman (or madwoman, let’s not judge here) willing to write a minimum of 18 words every minute for 48 hours without a break of any form. I am not one of those types of madman, I am a completely different, but no less mad, type of madman. I do think that I am now in a better position to attempt it than I ever have been. Previously I’ve had trifling concerns like that degree thing I was paying several thousand pounds a year to do, or a job which demand I work 45 hour weeks and spend the remaining 67 hours, where I wasn’t asleep, gibbering in the corner. On top of that there was the pesky demands of being surrounded by people who did not consider “hermit” to be a valid life choice. And that despite being several miles away, through rain, sleet or snow, as well as being significantly more expensive, a pub, and not your bedroom was the best place to get drunk. Now I’m a graduate, with a fairly sane job, living in a strange and bewildering place where I know precisely no one.
It probably also helps that I’ve actually got an idea this year too.
The idea began as a joke about two years ago. Someone who I went to university with was pondering whether they should attempt NaNoWriMo, it was November 3rd and they were hunting for ideas. With my standard cavalier approach to any earnestly asked question I responded thusly:
“In the distant future Robot Space Hitler is at war with the British Star Empire and loosing. In a bid to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat he sends two laser prostitutes back in time to assassinate Benjamin Disraeli. However Robot Space Hitler did not count on the whiles and cunning of Zombie Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his crack team of time agents.”
Sadly my suggestion fell on stony ground. But things turned out for the best I suppose, I get to use the idea for this year’s NaNoWriMo while the fellow in question, a Mister Ross O’Brien went on the win an unrelated competition and get a short story published with Black Library. I call this burgeoning idea “High Noon in Outer Space“. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that such a thing appears in the project section of this blog, it even contains an excerpt. I’m going to be honest with you, that excerpt? Those 359 words? That’s it. That’s all there currently is to High Noon in Outer Space, a short fragment, something that barely even constitutes a prologue. I’m sure there might be some whiny little bitches piping out in nasal tones “But you can’t do that, it’s against the rules!” Well shit on the rules! Verily and forsooth, for that be how I roll. It’s not the Olympics here, where an excuse like “oh I just took that hit of steroids to get me going, you know?” is heavily frowned upon. If I spit out the whole 50,000 more words I very much doubt anyone is going to piss on the achievement by bemoaning the fact I had a little bit already written. That bastard fragment has been floating around my hardrive, all lost and forlorn since early 2010. I’m a beginner and like in golf I clearly deserve a little bit of a handicap, and I damn well want to write this story.
So armed with an idea I’m starting to plan. Well, more starting to plan the starting of planning. I have of course attended to some of the most important issue first, such as setting up a nice little spreadsheet with the daily word count targets, boxes for cumulative counts and a nice conditionally formatted counter to tell me how far I’m lagging behind. I’ve also prepared a NaNo mix playlist filled with stirring orchestral pieces to keep me fuelled with writing ju-ju. In a word, I’m doing a lot of the pointless procrastination before November even starts. I consider this to be a sound tactical move.
I shall hopefully begin the proper planning later this weekend, sketching out a rough map so I don’t end up getting horribly lost sometime around November 10th forcing me to derail myself into a mindless torrent of text somewhere between pseudo-intellectual ramblings and a particularly bad trip on some particularly rotten acid. With regards to the planning I have decided to enlist the help of the internet. Not with specifics of plot, for those things belong solely in the realms of my diseased imagination. I ask for suggestions as to who Zombie Isambard Kingdom Brunel‘s crack team of time agents are. I have a few individuals lined up, thus far I have:
Sir Chevale – A forgotten grail knight from the Round Table of King Arthur. Being a grail knight he naturally had a sly sip from that fancy cup and wound up being immortal, now he stomps through time in a big suit of mechanical armour with a very large sword. He’s a bit of a medieval Iron Man, but less of a lecherous alcoholic playboy.
Professor Ignatius – a Franciscan monk, he specialises in outfitting the team in the appropriate attire and with the appropriate mannerisms for whatever period they’re working in. A tad on the OCD side and not good with people, he spends a lot of the time looking a like a bit of a vacant headed loon.
Erik Weisz – The man who would become Harry Houdini. It’s a little known fact he spent a portion of his younger years gallivanting through time fighting evil. He functions as a greaseman, opening doors, busting locks, picking pockets and a whole symphony of sleight of hand and misdirection.
Aleister Crowley – A de-facto expert on all things supernatural and plain weird. He would be unstoppable were he not perpetually off his face on drugs or trying to shag anything that moved.
Currently I’m lacking in the way of female characters, there certainly needs to be a femme fatale and a whole host of supporting bit parts. So if any of you have any suggestions as to humorous or vastly inappropriate historic figures or concepts to include I would be greatly appreciative of the assistance.
October 15th, 2011 at 11:50 am
I like the idea of Boudica with a time chariot. Or Amelia Earhart. She didn’t go missing in the Bermuda Triangle, she was recruited to be a time agent. Either one could be the team’s pilot (some amusing scenes could be written with Boudica looking at the dials of a time machine for the first time).
Badass Florence Nightingale as the team’s medic. With the technology to grow limbs back?
October 15th, 2011 at 5:13 pm
I’m loving the Boudica idea
October 19th, 2011 at 10:04 am
Marie Curie, the megalomaniac with the glowing smile. No, REALLY glowing… She’s found all this radioactive stuff so she must have superpowers, right? Probably something unspectacular but useful like the power to turn lights on without using the switch. Megalomaniacal because she was hoping for proper superpowers? And he husband was holding her back.. Now she’s just tagging along with the dudes hoping for caold, hard cash. She faked her own death to get a new start and now goes under the name ‘Maria Kurikova’.
You’ve already got a Joan of Arc figure, and I was going to suggest Earhart too, but that’s a bit clichéd.
What about one of the less-well-known suffragettes, who’s become some sort of space-hottie? She’s still got the feminist in her, but she knows how to use it to get her own way. Like some of the Bond girls.
October 19th, 2011 at 12:37 pm
I think I could use Emily Davison, she’d fit into one of the sections I’ve got planned a lot better than Boudicca. I think I’ll style her as a wanton party girl, all her suffragette stuff was merely a hilarious series of comic misunderstandings!
Slightly Evil Marie Curie will definitely be making an appearance in the team, perhaps all that radiation turned her into some sort of weird spectre or wraith. Brunel’s already a Zombie so having more undead clearly makes perfect sense.