Friday, 21 October 2011

I Finally Found 'the One' by Jessica Ball

I’ll just out and say this, right here right now, at the start of this guest blog post; This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo. Yes, I’m a new author. A newbie. A n00b. Whatever you want to call me. I may not be new to writing, but I most certainly am new to the NaNo way of life, and let me tell you something; I’m scared.

But I know I’m not alone.

There is a plethora of new writers joining NaNo for the first time this year, and they’re scared too. Hell, even writers who have been doing this for 5 years get scared when November is only a turn on the calendar away. The point is, it’s okay to be scared. It’s good to be scared! If I wasn’t scared, I wouldn’t have found “The One”.

What’s that sorry? My partner? God no! Why are you talking about them?! No, no no no. “The One” is my story. My “winning idea”. The one that stuck out in my head and yelled at me to write 50,000 words on it.

That’s scary, isn’t it? 50,000 words in 30 days. And of course, the magic number is 1,666. That’s the amount of words, minimum, that you have to write each day if you want to reach 50,000 words by the end of November. If you’re a family person not wanting to write on weekends, you need to write a minimum of 2,400 words a day. That’s scary.

That’s the point of writing, of embarking on a new adventure; it’s scary.

As authors, we can plan our little hearts out. We can write each detail, both significant and insignificant, about each character meticulously. We can describe settings right down to the tiniest snowflake on the smallest kitten. We can plan plan plan until we can’t plan anymore, but we never truly know our stories or novels. Not before we’ve started them, at least.

Writing a novel is a learning curve for an author. We never TRULY know our characters or our plots or anything like that. Why? Because out characters take us there. Not us, we don’t decide how a story is going to go, we’re just the trained computer monkeys who bow to the incessant urge to write down what the tiny little people in our heads are doing. That’s by no means at all an insult; it’s very much a compliment. We have the ability to do something that non-writers can’t do; harness our imagination. We can listen to and heed what the little people are saying because we write it down. And that’s the beauty of writing.

Back to my original point though, I found “The One”. My plot might not be original, it may not be one of those “never done before” ideas, but it IS mine. No plot is original in the long run, pretty much everything has been done before; the key to making it something worth reading is making it YOURS. Nobody else’s, YOURS.

My plot revolves around a psychopath. It involves abuse, drugs, alcohol, murder, rape, torture – but it’s not what you think. It’s not just going to be a bloody, brutal massacre of the English language, so to speak. It’s a psychological thriller, essentially. My synopsis is pretty good, if I do say so myself. You can read that on my blog.

But what makes it MY plot is the fact that I’ve entailed my own ideas and twists. Psychological thrillers have been done over and over, both in books and movies. But it’s still one of the most popular subjects to read/watch because it’s such an open-ended topic. And that’s what you want to be looking for. That gap in the market where one tiny little detail in your novel will make it different from the rest.

I’m by no means a professional author. I’m not even close. But I do know one thing; you have to enjoy what you’re writing. It WILL show through your words. If you’re bored of the topic, that’ll show too. Just make your novel your own. Let it take you somewhere awesome.

Don’t be scared to just let your imagination fly.

Have you found 'the one' yet? Are you ready to stick with it for the duration?

Panda (@pandrawr) is a strange 21 year old student from the UK. She goes by this name because she doesn’t like her real name, not even a tiny bit. She began writing at the tender age of 6, writing short silly stories for her father. She went on to write a ton of poetry, but has now decided that there is a deep, dark novel in her, waiting to be blasted out for all the world to see. She enjoys music, driving and spending time with her boyfriend, but most of all, because she is a Panda, she (naturally) enjoys sleeping for long periods of time mostly. You can also find her tweeting, blogging, and NaNo-ing her heart out.


  1. Can't wait to hear how your story progresses. We're in the same boat and I just know that all us newbie can rally together (along with the more experienced crowd) and provide each other with the support we are sure to need. Good luck, I'm glad you found the ONE!

  2. I'm so happy to say I found the one, it's just taken me three years to learn what IT was trying to tell ME to write! For the longest time, when I first started and kept coming back to Illumine, I kept saying, "Maybe this isn't it. Maybe it's my first failure. All writers have it." And then I remembered that I'd had about nine other 'failures' before it and said this was the one, I just didn't know what it wanted. Fast forward a few years, and I finally took the time to listen, and viola, I heard the truth in the story, not the muddled junk I kept adding.

    Good luck with NaNo girl! We'll all be here to cheer you along the way!

  3. That's a good way to put it! The story chose you. I think a lot of stories choose me for some reason, and I need them to step back and wait their turn. But again, your story is AWESOME, so you're lucky it chose you of all writers. :)

  4. Aww "The One" I'm so happy for you :') time to buy a hat hmm? Hehe.

    Me and my novel are having a somewhat tempestuous relationship: I go from being madly in love with it, to feeling doubt and even indifference. The latter usually comes when I've not paid it enough attention, so I'm sure NaNo will force us to work things out.

    I'm so excited about your novel; the synopsis is fab!

  5. The fear does go away after a few years, when you know you can write a novel in a month. At that point, you begin to wonder if you can write a good novel in 30 days. That's tougher!

    Have a great time writing your novel!

  6. That's exactly it! I'm now wondering if I can make it a good one. Oh boy, it sounds like an impossibility. Hopefully, I can break through this year. ^_^

  7. I can't wait for a few years time, when hopefully I'll be able to face the month of November without shaking in my boots! I don't expect my first NaNo attempt to be fantastic and what not, but I am confident in my plot and characters. It's not something I'll work at for 30 days then abandon, I intend on taking this novel the full way :)

  8. That's so great to hear! It's true, because us writers don't hold the reigns on our imaginations, it can be difficult to hear were the story actually wants us to go with it. As you said, we can be quite prone to adding too much junk that we THINK is great at the time, but actually just completely takes away from the story. I'm not saying all "fantastic new thoughts and additions" are going to be bad, not at all, sometimes these new, exciting thoughts can bring the best ideas to our stories, but we just need to learn how to harness those thoughts into something GOOD, and I'm so glad you've found exactly what you want to write :)

    Thank you! I will be here cheering everyone else on as well :)

  9. Thank you so much!

    Perhaps a bit too early for a hat, I'm not sure if me and "The One" are COMPLETELY compatible yet, that will be seen in November ;) Haha.

    To be honest, I get that too Catherine. Most days I am madly in love with it, but there is the odd day when I wonder if I'm adding too much, too little, being too exaggerated or too boring - one extreme to the other, and I can't make my mind up! Luckily these doubts often pass when I ground myself again and remember exactly what the plot is and where the story is going to end up, but that still doesn't stop me from wondering if it's enough =/

    That said, I just read your synopsis, and I'm hooked! Hook line and sinker, I want to read your novel, right now. I can't wait to see what happens! :D

  10. Thank you, Angie! I certainly do feel like part of a big family, something I haven't felt for many years, and it's nice! I feel like I'm in some kind of elite group of humans, haha :D I'll certainly be here, cheering everyone on!

  11. "My plot might not be original, it may not be one of those “never done before” ideas, but it IS mine. No plot is original in the long run, pretty much everything has been done before; the key to making it something worth reading is making it YOURS. Nobody else’s, YOURS."

    This part really stood out the most to me. I'm a NaNo newbie as well (even though I, too, have been a writer all my life), and I'm really glad to hear someone else say it's okay to not have a completely original plot. I mean, millions of books have been written, so you can't recreate the wheel with *every* story. As you say, it's about making it *yours* -- which is exactly what I plan to do :)

    Good luck with NaNo!