Four days to NaNo… and looking back to 2013…

The National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write 50,000 words in November, 50,000 words of a new novel. I have done it twice before and found the experience on both occasions an amazing boost to my writing; the discipline, the controlled panic, the stream of consciousness writing – almost automatic writing sometimes… in both years I entered, i had some idea what i was going to do… this year October is running away and I have an empty head!

Looking back to my first experience in 2013, I found that I had written this:

Day 2 went well in my effort to write a novel in a month as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m well on target with my words – it’s hoped we’ll do 50,000 in November… so far so good, but we’ll see!

My novel is about a family in search of its roots, a sort off genealogical thriller, I guess. I’ve been introducing various characters; s it’s about a family there are lots of them but I want to make it clear to the reader who they are and how they are related… I’ve just been reading ‘Case Histories’ by the popular and respected author, Kate Atkinson, and I have to say that yet again I’ve read a book I didn’t like. There are several stories of missing girls in her novel, and although they are all introduced individually with separate chapters I got in such a muddle over them all… maybe I really am a rubbish reader (I just hope I’m not a rubbish writer) so with that thought and having lots of characters I’ve taken care that I try to establish them clearly.

Unusually for me I’m writing in the first person, and more unusually the narrator is a man, Thomas Radwinter. He has three brothers, Marcus, Paul and John (People who criticise my choice of names can’t complain, can they?) In the first few paragraphs he talks about his wife, Rebecca, another straight forward name. He goes to be introduced to his brother Paul’s fiancée; Paul has four sons so having introduced them, the narrator talks about them as ‘my nephew Tom’ or Paul’s eldest boy, so I hope the reader won’t feel muddled. To make it clearer, really early on I put a little family tree, father, mother, four brothers, offspring.

I think what might become difficult with names is when Thomas starts going through census records, where obviously there will be lots of names… not sure how to manage that, but in a way they are only names of ancestors, and apart from a few key people it won’t matter whether the reader remembers them or not.

As usual with my stories, although I have a general idea of where I’m going, I know, I just know that there will be unexpected things happening along the way, unexpected for me as well as my characters and my readers!

This writing became ‘Radwinter’ which I published in 2013. I thought it would be a stand alone novel, but surprisingly to me (but greeted with glee by my readers I’m happy to say) two more novels followed about the Radwinter family, ‘Magick’ and ‘Raddy and Syl’. If you haven’t read them, here is a link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois%20elsden&sprefix=lois+elsde%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alois%20elsden&oqid=1445802005

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