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nanowrimoWe’re just a couple of weeks from NaNoWriMo 2009, and I’ve blocked out some time today to start drafting the outline of the project that I plan to launch in November.

I’ve already done something that I didn’t do for 600 Hours of Edward (soon to be published) or Gone to Milford (hopefully to be published): I wrote character sketches of the major players — their motivations, fears, physical attributes, personalities, backgrounds, etc. With the first two novels, I felt that I knew the characters fairly well before I ever dropped ass into chair, and though they surprised me along the way, their DNA was much as I imagined it to be.

With the new project, there’s much more of a sense that they will reveal themselves as we go. My sketches were intended to give us a starting point.

In previous posts, I’ve written about my minimalist approach to outlining. That, too, is likely to change, at least for this project. The plot that is gestating in my head has enough ins and outs that I’m going to need a more involved guiding document. The great likelihood is that whatever I come up with now will change later on. That’s fine, even preferable. The goal for today is to build a crude map. I can wander the story’s countryside later.

On November 1st, I start writing. That’s also the day that 600 Hours drops.

It’s going to be a hell of a month.

In all the excitement about the Riverbend news, I didn’t spend much time with my new manuscript last week. And when I say that I didn’t spend much time, I mean, of course, that I didn’t spend any time. I’m one man. Cut me a break.

Yesterday, on the golf course, Gone to Milford drifted back into my mind, and it came with a solution to a nettlesome problem I’ve been struggling with for two drafts now: how to imbue the story from the start with the appropriate level of foreboding. The story, in total, unwinds some very difficult relationships, but not in a traditional separation-and-reconciliation sort of way. That’s the extent of what I’ll say. If you want to know the rest, read the book when it emerges.

The story starts at the end. What I struggled with was where at the end I should begin. What follows are the original beginning and the one I amended it to earlier today:

The early version

UPDATE: Based on initial feedback and my own evolving thoughts, I went back and did some tweaking and came up with a new, expanded beginning.

Here it is.

Which one, if either, makes Does this make you want to read more? Why or why not? Tell me in the comments section.

I’ll be interested to hear the responses.

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