Let me start and talk about the project I’m working on this year, and the obstacles I expect to face along the way.
In a lot of ways, it’s crazy for me to take on NaNoWriMo this year since I have a 20 page paper due at the end of the month, and while it felt like it was going okay a week ago, it feels less that way now. I have a meeting with my professor tonight to hopefully get the whole thing back on track.
So why do NaNoWriMo? Well, I miss writing, and November usually offers me a chance to get back on track. Going back to graduate school and my job as a substitute teacher usually takes over my life and saps my energy in September and October, and I almost always forget to write. Last year, I did better with that and wrote Mad World and Bittersweet. I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest that making my writing a priority made that semester more bearable.
That being said, I know the best way to get everything done this month that needs to be done is to make some big changes in my life and routine. I recently left my second job that ate up a lot of energy and time at night and on the weekends, so that’s a step in the right direction.
I’ve been lazy lately, sleeping in and not sticking to my list of things that need to be done every day. I need to stop that and get up earlier. That’s the only way writing is ever going to fit back into my daily schedule. At least for the next few months.
I’ll be tracking that part of my routine as well as the actual writing during this month.
As for what I’ll be writing — it’s the first time since 2016 that I’ll be writing a new project. For the last two years, between Camp NaNoWriMo in July and regular NaNoWriMo, I’ve alternated writing Mad World and Bittersweet. Both of those are done, so it’s time to introduce something new.
I did a poll at Crimson Glass and let my readers choose what they wanted next, and overwhelming Counting Stars won. It was already in the lead in the original larger poll, but it won 50% of the vote in the run-off last month.
Counting Stars is set in 2000 and looks at the aftermath of Jason’s decision to leave town. I revised some of the elements in Jason leaving–no Carly pregnancy, and a few other things–but it’s one of two versions of I’m working on that are set in this time period. What would have happened to Jason and Elizabeth if Lucky had never turned up alive in 2000? Counting Stars is that story with Jason leaving, while Signs of Life is that story if Jason had stayed.
I’ve always been intrigued by the story the show gave Jason and Elizabeth in the fall of 1999. Did they intend for it to be what it ended up to be? At what point did Steve Burton decide to leave? Was the Elizabeth stuff a placeholder–something for both of them to do while they set up Lucky’s return and Jason’s exit?
Expected Obstacles and Challenges
I’ve never really written anything set in this period, so I’m worried about capturing voices of characters who aren’t Jason and Elizabeth. I was about 15 when this stuff originally aired, and I only half-watched from time to time. We didn’t have DVRs or Tivos in my house until 2005, so sometimes I sat with my mom and watched while she caught up on her VHS at the end of the week but mostly I had checked out when Jonathan Jackson left.
I had watched the show religiously in the summer and fall of 1998 because my school had split sessions — our elementary school had asbestos removal scheduled, so the high school kids went to school in the morning and elementary in the evening. I was home every day until December to keep watching GH, but once the full schedule returned, it was harder to keep up.
I have DVDs but they’re all couple-related (LL2, Liason), so characters like Alexis and Sonny are a bit of a challenge. Alexis, in particular. Late 90s Alexis is a lot different than today’s Alexis, or even mid 2000s. I want to spend some time this weekend looking at old clips to get a feel for their voices and who they were in this period. It’s so important to me that I can hear the actors in my head as I’m writing so that you guys can really feel like this could have happened on the show.
I’m also worried about the amount of story I have to fill sixteen chapters. Those of you who picked Counting Stars did so on the strength of the first two scenes — which I had planned to be both be in Chapter One. When I sat down to outline, I realized I had maybe ten solid chapters (if that) so I needed to change it up. The first scene is still the opening scene, but that second scene between Sonny and Elizabeth is now in Chapter 4.
I’m trying to do a bit of an ensemble piece — with Sonny and Alexis, Luke and Laura, and some Stefan thrown in there. To really build the world as it existed back then. I don’t write a lot of Luke and Laura for some reason, and I’ve never really written Sonny and Alexis. So those are new challenges. Sexis happened mostly while I was a senior in high school and busy with activities, so I’ve never gotten a handle on what made them so popular. I’m looking forward to exploring that.
I’ll be back shortly with an accounting of how things went on the first day!