It’s high time for a new project for me. Nanorwrimo starts on November 1st and it’s the perfect opportunity to start drafting a new story. For those not in the know, November is National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). It’s where writers all over the world commit to writing a minimum of 1,667 words a day for every day in the month of November. The goal is to get a 50k word rough draft of a novel completed within 30 days.
I’ve been participating in Nano for years now. My family and friends already know the drill. My husband is good enough to make sure I am fed and usually gives me all the space and time I need. My family tolerates my laptop or notebook at Thanksgiving. My work is bewildered by my sudden distraction, but they usually manage until I am mentally back in December.
The big question now becomes... what am I going to write about? Well? I’m not going to lie... I’ve been developing this tale for months. It’s a natural progression after working on my Grandpa’s story because the subject matter has a lot to do with my own Norse heritage. What is this new story? I am dabbling into the world of Norse mythology. Specifically what happens when someone defies their predetermined fate and how, in the world of the Norse gods, that can send everything into chaos.
I’m really excited to launch myself back into fiction, but I’ve learned that the more authenticity I can breathe into my story, the better it will be. The more anchors I can attach into the real world, or in this instance, the actual myths of the Norse people, then the more realistic and more gripping I can make this tale. Plus there is a lot to say for being as close to the original sources as possible. I don’t want to just start making things up and taking liberties where it doesn’t make sense.
The research into all of this has been incredibly enlightening. I’ve delved deep into websites. I’ve read through my several copies of Norse myth interpretations. I’ve watched countless documentaries on Viking archaeological sites and historical events. And, most importantly, I’ve discovered Dr. Jackson Crawford, a professor who teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This magical man not only has translated several of the most important primary sources from Old Norse, but he also makes incredible videos on YouTube explaining the finer details of the culture and literature of the time. I’ve learned SO MUCH from this man and it’s opened up incredible plot points that I would never have gotten to if he hadn’t explained the details. For instance, the details of the seider (more or less a séance) and the volva (seeress). More specifically how the songs that were sang could have been entreaties to the Norns to reveal the fate of the ones in attendance.
The impact of that revelation on my plot was huge. When I heard that particular video, I’d been stuck for quite a while on what should happen or where my character would go. It’s always the little details that generate the question necessary for plot progression. Listening to Dr. Jackson’s videos (usually on my commute to the day job) gave so much depth and guidance that it launched my plot forward and is making it even possible to make this germ of an idea into a fully-fledged story line that would be fit for Nano this year.
To summarize, I am so excited for Nano this year. All of the research I’ve been doing this summer is about to be put to work.
If you are interested in Nano, check it out! www.nanowrimo.org. For Dr. Jackson’s wonderful videos, check him out on YouTube by searching for Jackson Crawford.