National Novel Writing Month is coming soon, and I do have a novel in mind. At first I’d decided to write a children’s book, not because I was especially inspired, but because it seemed like the most efficient use of 50,000 words. While it’s the ideal for a month-long spate of novelizing lunacy, fifty thousand words is too much for a novella and too little for a novel, market-wise. In my complete ignorance of children’s lit, I thought it might be an appropriate length for that.
As far as I can tell, a children’s book is a book about children. Yes, it’s shorter than Gone with the Wind and less racy than Anne Rice erotica, but there are adult books that are neither infinite nor smutty. Maybe there are certain factors of tone involved; I think my tone would do. My interest in writing for children is not the smut-free pass, the reduced word count, or even the off-chance of striking it rich with the next Harry Potter phenomenon.
Children’s books are the best-loved books. I may have read better books since the Chronicles of Narnia and Taran Wanderer, but they just haven’t hit me the same way. I think it’s more the childhood than the literature - my attachment to LotR dates to elementary school. Man of La Mancha, the musical, wouldn’t form such a large part of my worldview if I hadn’t grown up on it. So yes, I want to scar youth permanently the way Aldonza’s song did me.
But I won’t be doing it for NaNoWriMo, because another idea came to mind. A certain character has popped up in a couple of my uncompleted novels (the Wrong Novel and the Wrong Prequel, to be precise), and I decided that since he fascinated me so much more than my nice female protagonists, he deserved history - a name and a habitation.
I’ve known for a long time that his name was that of an ex-boyfriend of mine, though I’ve buried it in faux-futuristic versions in the other novels. If I stopped to think about it, I might find some unresolved bitterness in the fact that he’s destined to start a war, end a golden age, and perhaps get a little genocide in on the side. Simple filicide will do for the first 50,000 words of his life, though.