Camp NaNoWriMo Update #1

I’ve been doing ok with my modest goals up to now. I wanted to do 30 hours of research and editing, an hour a day. I was ahead of schedule: I was losing myself in the story, following characters as they ran along streets and crossed bridges, bridges that look sturdy enough now to be still standing in the year 2074.

I researched what people might be doing with their longer, healthier lives, where they’d be living, and who would own self-driving cars.

I read about virtual reality headsets. The Oculus Rift. Who wants one of those? Will they ever fit it all down into a sleek, Google-glass-like device?

And somehow, this reading led me to be reading about esports. And I realized, to my dismay, that I’m not interested in esports and I don’t want to write about them. I’m sure not going to be able to write anything credible or interesting about esports with my current attitude.

An invented sport: what will they play in the future? Unfortunately Quidditch is already taken–but wouldn’t it be an awesome virtual reality esport? I could imagine Anerican football and boxing becoming virtual reality esports only, as the injuries mount and the lawsuits pile up.

In a fossil fuel-poor world such as what we are headed for, I can imagine everyone travels less, even sports teams, with the resources saved for the military. Players of virtual reality esports don’t have to travel. They just put on their headsets and meet in the arena.

I have a character in the story. He is paraplegic and uses a wheelchair. He could be a great virtual reality athlete. But I can’t go on from there. I find myself not caring enough about the whole concept to put it into my novel.

Should I press on and write it in anyway?

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10 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo Update #1”

  1. You could change direction. It’s not like that doesn’t happen and when you aren’t motivated by whatever is happening your writing — well, at least my writing — goes flat. I say go boldly in the direction of your interest, even if you don’t think it’s going to work while you’re doing it just to see where you end up!

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  2. I would say let him go. If you’re not tied to him emotionally somehow, there will be more trouble down the way. You’ve got to love or hate your characters unless you really mean them to be just filler and they won’t stick around. I’ve never done a second draft on Glencara’s Bane because I dislike my heroine. I’m trying to decide how to fix that which will probably cause some extensive rewriting. Jmo.

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  3. The character, whose name is Luke (go ahead make the SW jokes), is also a musician and plays keyboards in a band with some of the other characters, including the protagonist, Hallie. I feel much more comfortable writing about this aspect of their lives, as I am also a musician. I don’t play in a band, but I play fiddle and rock acoustic violin sometimes, in addition to classical, and that’s what Hallie plays. I just interviewed an electric violinist for my violinist.com blog and I’m thinking that Hallie is going to make the switch herself in the novel. Hallie herself isn’t that into sports, but I was thinking about developing Luke more as a character, and wondering what he would be doing in his spare time. And what do all teenage boys do these days in their spare time? Online gaming! Luke is not very mobile, or social–he lives in an economically depressed area where he can’t afford a new exoskeleton or robot legs or genetically engineered nerve regeneration or anything like that, so I think he would play a lot of esports, and would be pretty good at them. He harbors Luke-Skywalker-like adolescent dreams of escape. The gaming needs to serve that purpose for him in the novel. Maybe the music could serve that purpose instead, but that’s really more Hallie’s story than his.

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  4. Ah yes, this dilemma. I too have found myself in this position before, and it’s frustrating as anything.

    My experience has generally been that trying to force it through can make it feel exactly that – forced.

    However, from the little you have said here it sounds really interesting. A paraplegic virtual reality athlete sounds like one of those things that could really work if done well.

    Do you think it’s something you may be more taken with in the future after creating some space with it? Sometimes I can find it helps to write down in a basic way so I have a note, then leave it for a while and return later. Space can sometimes remind you of how interesting the idea could be. If the space doesn’t work, it might not be the right idea for your story.

    I hope you can get through this feeling though, I am personally very intrigued by this concept.

    Good luck!

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    1. Yes, sometimes I get into a story by writing about it. It becomes interesting only then. I think some of my problem here is that I was reading boring articles about esports. Who owns the media rights, etc. I’m envisioning esports that work more like the NFL, with hometown teams that are tied to geographical and/or cultural areas. I know you can get around all that with esports, but that is much of what makes sports interesting to me in the first place. English Football is like that too, and I think that’s one of the reasons Quidditch works so well. It borrows those aspects of the football culture.

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  5. The problem with writing something that bores you is that feeling tends to come across in the writing. Anything forced would tend to be an uphill struggle for the reader too and put them off. Is there some other activity, not sport, that you would find more interesting to write about?

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    1. Like I said, there’s music to write about, and that’s the main thrust of the protagonist’s character arc. But in the interests of world building and character development, especially for Luke and maybe some of the other supporting characters, I think I need to flesh out their world, what they do for entertainment, what they do in their spare time. They are going to do sports, they are going to compete, they are going to do online gaming. Even for someone like me, now, who doesn’t like baseball, the fact that the baseball season is opening here in the USA is there in the background. It means summer, hotdogs, kids playing in the park. “Field of Dreams.” The imagined world just won’t feel realistic without it.

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  6. Personally, I think that the answer is “no.” If you don’t care about a story line or element, it’s not likely to turn out well.

    If you’ve written yourself into something of a corner such that the esports angle is essential, you might try a trick that sometimes works for me: go back ten pages and revise your way up to where you got stuck. Sometimes that gives me enough momentum to keep moving. Another thought might be to come up with an angle that does interest you that you could use in the esports context, like a new character or conflict.

    Either way, good luck!

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  7. I can’t offer any help on such a long work, but I have many partially developed ideas laying around. I come back to them, edit, change and maybe develop a little further. Sometimes, they emerge as something different.

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