My NaNoWriMo Experiment

imageNaNoWriMo is a week away, and today, with a little help from a friend, I came up with a great idea for an experiment.

You see, I had this really epic dream last night. I have really vivid dreams all the time, and my dreams are usually either “oh, what a beautiful, beautiful life” dreams, or what I call the epic story dream. Both are quite wonderful. The beautiful life ones make me feel really good when I wake up; the epic story ones are thrilling, like a great novel that I just happen to be in.

So in this epic story dream of mine, the setting for the last scene was a really vivid one, vivid and wonderfully strange. And when I woke up, my first thought was, that’s the kind of setting I want to use in my writing.

When I write, it’s usually from a movie in my head. I get characters, dialogue and action, and I try to capture it all in words. But the setting is usually never more than a faint blur, which probably explains why my first drafts are short on description.

So I want access to the stuff that comes to me in my dreams. After a few email exchanges with a friend of mine, who has written fiction in this way herself, I’ve decided to experiment with one of my NaNoWriMo projects (I’m going to work on two this year, in keeping with my new multi-focused approach).

I’m already a “discovery writer”, in that I don’t plot and prefer instead to write by the seat of my pants, discovering the story myself as I write. Having said that, I usually know in what general direction I’m writing; I just don’t know the details of the journey there, and of course, the direction itself is flexible and changes as the details emerge.

My WIP ELEMENTAL is a quest tale, and I have a vague idea what the quest is. So I’ll continue writing that one out with that general direction in mind.

But I’m going to play around with my other WIP, experiment with different “meditative states” while I’m writing it. Kind of like lucid dreaming while awake. I’m not going to write this one chronologically, either; I’ll get down the scenes as they (hopefully) come to me, and afterwards I’ll figure out what the sequence is. I already know what one of the scenes will be: the one I dreamt about last night.

So it’s going to be a complete experiment, from beginning to end. I’ll do this one both on the computer and in longhand. I’ll go wherever it takes me, however it goes, and then at the end of 30 days, I’ll see what I have.

It sounds like great fun to me!

Have any of you ever written like this? Investigating other states of being while writing? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

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9 thoughts on “My NaNoWriMo Experiment

  1. Janel

    I usually just got to bed with a story or a problem that I’m trying to solve within a story running through my mind. Sleeping on it usually helps a lot.

    You might want to try Thinking Write from Kelly Stone to go along with your experiment. She details all kinds of ways to tap into your subconscious mind to help with your writing, from meditating to mirror gazing.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Unpleasant Side Effects =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      I’d forgotten about Thinking Write – thanks for the reminder, Janel. I have the guided meditations cd on my iTunes but haven’t listened to it yet. Another meditation I thought I’d try is Kelly Howell’s BrainSync one, Clear Wave Creative.

      Reply
  2. Rural View

    I did something like this at a writers’ conference years ago. In a dark room we all closed our eyes and let our minds wander. Then we tried to follow the trail of an interesting thought, still with eyes closed. When the lights came on, I had what I thought was a great idea for a book – which I never wrote by the way. The beginnings of that story are tucked away somewhere, but I remember the idea all these years later.
    .-= Rural View´s last blog ..The Cabinda Incident by Michael J Ulissey =-.

    Reply
  3. Steve Kubien

    Please, forget the NaNoWriMo and stick to Elemental. Please. In fact, forget your husband and kids. Forget the indexing. forget earning a steady income. Finish Elemental. Please.

    Of course, I may be really selfish.

    Reply
  4. J.C. Martin

    Hi! Found your blog through Halloween Hauntings! I’m doing my first ever NaNo this year, and although I have the feeling I’ll be an epic fail, will still give it a good go! I’ve tried writing by the seat of my pants for a couple of fanfiction novels, which was fine considering the wolrds and characters have already been built and all I’m doing is constructing an alternative story arc, but with my serious original WIPs, I find the plot demands some sort of outline to keep myself from getting confused (which is easily done!). So my NaNo novel is completely outlined and ready, which hopefully means less time staring blankly at a screen thinking “what happens next?”
    .-= J.C. Martin´s last blog ..Friday Follower 2- Danyelle Leafty =-.

    Reply

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