November is National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of people have committed to writing a 50,000 word novel over the coming weeks. If it seems daunting to you, think of it like this… you only have to write 1,667 words a day, and at the end of the month, it’s done. It may have terrible grammar, a rambling plot, and an nonsensical structure, but you have a novel!
So what to write about? How about… your travels?
I recently got inspired by Rick Steve’s book, Travel as a Political Act. Essentially, he tells us that we have unprecedented chances to explore the world, and that our impressions and experiences matter. Given the lack of accurate news coverage and misconceptions about other cultures, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. We can also learn from other countries’ solutions to similar problems and gain insight into our role on the globe.
With Rick Steves as our cheerleader, my husband and I signed up for the Novel project. We’re writing as a team, which may or may not be a good idea. Like any two people on the planet, we have different ideas about what constitutes a good story. But here’s the basic strategy:
1. It’s a detective novel starring a crime fighting couple (Think Hart to Hart, that awful show from the 80s or maybe even Mr and Mrs. Smith)
2. It takes place in different parts of the world. (That’s where all those details abroad come in)
3. We set the timer each evening for one hour and write like banshees to get our 1,667 words.
Like all worthy goals such as running a marathon or climbing Mount Fuji, there will be difficulties and set-backs. Here’s a snapshot of Writing Day 1.
7:00 pm- Timer set
7:13 pm- Husband says, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
7:21 pm- Husband says again, this time with arms crossed, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
7:22 pm- I hiss at him, “You are so not fun!”
7:30 pm- We get into a groove (even though there’s still eye-rolling) and a story takes shape in Mexico
7:45 pm- I think, “My husband cannot spell for the life of him.”
7:55 pm- Husband sighs and says, “That doesn’t make any sense.”
7:59 pm- We reach word goal
8:00 pm- Husband titles our novel “Hell Story: A Tale of Divorce in Progress”
Okay, the first time didn’t go so well, but other nights have gotten progressively better. Our story has all kinds of mystery, a Mark Twain impersonator, and so far a beautiful setting among ancient ruins of Mexico.
What about your travel novel? What would it be about?