Writing Challenges

Another week of pondering and plotting, yet not so much actual!writing about NaNoWritMo, the various WIPs and the writing prompt project (a project I am determined to complete by year’s end). I’m (still) pondering on what I should (attempt to) write next month – whether to build upon one of the many novels in the series saga or just make up an entirely new story, independent of the series saga. I’m (still) sorting through the jumble of plot twists, character relationships and overall sequence of events of each series – removing extraneous elements deemed cliché (and in doing so, opened up a new/old tangent in character exposition). So that’s a quasi-win.

In prepping for NaNoWritMo, I’ve decided to add an additional (rather optional) twist to the already challenging… well, challenge: for this year’s effort, I will attempt to write outside my comfort genre. I’ve already made a quasi-binding pact with two aspiring writers (whom I met via a writing group on Facebook) to raise the stakes (if only for bragging rights). Interestingly, the literary genre that is outside the comfort zone for the aforementioned writers is mystery (which – as the title of this blog can attest – is my strong suit, or at least the genre I’m most comfortable); conversely, the genre in which they mainly write (and feel is their strong suit) is the genre I don’t particularly feel comfortable.

Romance.

It’s not that I’m totally opposed to romance (there are some romantic films/TV shows/books I enjoy), but it’s the kind of romance novel/film/TV show, etc. that is prevalent these days that makes me roll my eyes: the overly sentimental, cliché archetype mainly used in YA [young adult] stories, usually within the dystopian universe. Also, it seems to me that most adult [meaning with non-young adult characters, and not necessarily smutty] romance novels are essentially the same, but with time/location differences and the characters have different names.  I never understood the appeal of romance novels (Harlequin or the 50 Shades ilk), but then again, I’m the romantic/overly sentimental type.

All the more reason to attempt to challenge myself to write one – I’ve had fleeting thoughts on including romantic elements in the character exposition, even though they fall closer to the tragic side than the “and they lived happily ever after” side of the spectrum. Many of the characters I’ve created (thus far) are either widowed, divorced or have had failed relationships (some with children, others without), so at some point there must have been a whirlwind romance/courtship (or at least the illusion of such).

Whether or not this ends up a stand-alone novel or part of the series saga remains to be seen.

Either way, this year’s NaNoWritMo should be interesting.

I hope.

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