NaNoWriMo 2021 – First Week! by Benjamin Collier

pencils stacked on a desk
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Okay. I finally got a breather.

Hey there! How’s everyone’s NaNo project coming along? I’m trying to do on average 2,000 words a day and it’s been a struggle to keep up.

As far as the story, so far I’ve yet to complete the opening scene. I got a late start on November 1st and, just to make the quota, I did what I did last year and focused on scenes I already have pretty clear in my head – mostly dialogue, so very little of what I’ve gotten down so far is actually in sequence. Some paragraphs are likely to get shifted around as well once I start editing and check the flow.

The problem is, compared to last year’s project, it’s less that I have specific dialogue planned out and more that  I have a ‘feel’ of certain character dynamics and interactions. So to write those scenes I really need to just start from the beginning of the scene and let the dialogue appear. And the problem with that is that, with zombie apocalypses being so chaotic by nature, I’m not 100% sure who is still going to be alive by certain points in the story! This is an unusual dynamic for me to work with, but is also exciting!

New character concepts have been popping up in my mind as well, even right up to the final days before starting NaNo, and more ideas may come as inspiration does. So plans could get derailed on occasion for the sake of newer and better ideas. I’ll be trying to keep an open mind during this project.

Speaking of which, I’m finally ready to publicly unveil the full title for this year’s Horror Vs Fantasy project.

(Drum roll)

Elves Vs. Zombies

Having done vampires and werewolves with the first two projects, the next logical horror theme was zombies. But choosing the next fantasy group required a bit more thought. Elves are of course one of my favourite fantasy races, and they come in such a variety of types already. There is a lot of potential, especially for seeing how they would adapt to a post-apocalyptic scenario.

The thought that really stuck out and got me excited about this pairing though is the sheer and stark juxtaposition between the elegant beauty and grace of elves and the cold, merciless horror of zombies – especially when an elf becomes a zombie themselves! The potential for play with this juxtaposition has me intrigued, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with it and what the final product will be.

I’ve already got a Pinterest board up and running (just made public), though admittedly it contains many more elves than zombies (with some that are potentially both). I try not to put too many dead things on my Pinterest boards, although I may need to make an exception here. Pins won’t be divided into sections for each character by name until I’ve got the book published. Until then it’ll serve as visual inspiration whenever I need it.

~ Ben