Well, it turns out my approach to Camp NaNoWriMo is exactly the same as my approach to the regular, November edition of NaNoWriMo. Despite all the planning and research I do before the month starts, I inevitably get ‘side-tracked’ with more research in the middle of writing my 50,000 words. Surely I can’t be the only one this happens to?
This month’s project has been bouncing around my brain for a long time, but I’ve never had a chance to sit down and work on it. A central aspect of this story is family, and how the characters view and value their family. There’s a significant rift between the main character’s father and grandfather and the cause has always been a classic/stereotypical ‘Well, G-Dad just doesn’t approve of Dad’s lifestyle.’ So I scheduled three solid hours of writing for today, sat down at my computer, placed my hands on the keyboard, and–! … Realized that stereotype was no longer sufficient. I had to come up with a specific reason why G-Dad doesn’t approve of Dad’s lifestyle. And like all of the great conflicts between father and son, this one involves family secrets, Nazis and immortality!
I love the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (I swear this is relevant to the previous paragraph, bear with me!). Even though it’s so long (and admittedly tedious with some of the historical scenes…) that many either never attempt to read it or give up half way, I enjoyed it. An alternative reality where wizards exist and are recruited by both sides during the Napoleonic Wars? What’s not to love?!
So in my story, I always knew two things about G-Dad. 1) He fought in WWII, and 2) he doesn’t approve of his son’s choice to become a wizard (although one might argue that you do not choose the lifestyle of wizard, it chooses you!). I decided to flesh out G-Dad’s backstory and got to thinking: What if Hitler and Mussolini had wizards on their side during WWII? Imagine how greater the horrors of war would have been. And then the ideas just kept flowing. Of course G-Dad would be appalled with his son’s decision to become a wizard! He spent years fighting against Hitler’s wizard troops (the Hexenwaffe) and watched them massacre millions of his comrades and innocent civilians! Not to mention what those wand-wielding scumbags did to his beloved! I started typing out a timeline of WWII and the Holocaust, slightly altered as if wizards had been involved in the war, and realized that I no longer had a backstory. G-Dad’s tale had become a beast that could stand on its own apart from my current story.
Looks like I’ve got a project for November!