Plotting A Fine Romance

So by this time next week, the annual writing challenge that is NaNoWritMo (National Novel Writing Month) will have started, and tens of thousands (maybe I’m exaggerating that number, or maybe not) of writers – newbies, seasoned veterans and everyone else in between – will spend their time working toward the daily word count quota, determined to extract 50,000 word novel within 30 days. I’ve attempted NaNoWritMo twice, and have spectacularly failed both times (though a good amount of plot bunnies and other ideas have emerged from both experiences). I’ve documented my (lack of) progress in this blog, and I will continue to do so, with the hope of officially logging in a higher word count than before [I’ve quasi-given up on the notion of actually “winning” – writing the mandatory 50,000 words – as the odds of that happening have been, and won’t be in my favor].

This year, however, I’ve added (of my own free will) an additional challenge to this year’s attempt, as a way to think inside the box (as, everyone knows, it’s always bigger on the inside) and to (hopefully) improve my writing craft. I’ve mentioned this in previous blog entries, but I’ll repeat it again – the [optional] challenge is to write a story in a genre that is outside the writer’s comfort zone. Two other writers, both NaNoWritMo participants, (so far) have agreed to this challenge, so it should prove to be an interesting month of writing. Interestingly, the out-of-comfort-zone genre for the two aforementioned writers is the genre in which I’m most comfortable writing – mystery – and my out-of-comfort-zone genre is the genre in which they predominantly write:


I’m not particularly fond of the romance genre, whether it be in literature, film, TV or other media – I’ve always found them to be formulaic, cliché, and ultimately, predictable. Moreover, I get annoyed when a love subplot (or worse yet, a love angle) is quasi-randomly inserted into or unnecessarily emphasized, ruining the plot – the film Pearl Harbor would have been better without the love story (but that’s only my opinion). I kinda get that romance is a highly profitable and popular genre with the general public, but it’s never been my cup of coffee (or tea, depending on my mood). Having said that, there are exceptions to my apparent aversion to romantic tales (namely if there are British actors involved in the film or TV show, or if the literary series has a romance that is not super saccharine or contrived).

I suppose I’ve become overly cynical about love and romance, though there is not particular reason why this is the case, as I haven’t suffered a heartbreak or anything of that sort – love and romance just haven’t been a top priority for me (if anything, I’ve been oblivious to any kind of romantic signals, so odds are I may have just missed out on the possibility of love and romance in my life).


Last week (I think), I quasi-vaguely listed possible options for this free form romance novel, and my plot bunnies have been sequestered in their own Mind Palace (which resembles a Hobbit hole) to see what they can do to help the process along. I suppose I have the next few days to figure out whether this [Untitled Love Story] will fit somewhere in my series saga or end up as a stand alone novel.

Either way, it’ll be an interesting NaNoWritMo. I’m curious how this twist will turn out.


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