Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Input/Output for Camp Nanowrimo

Urban fantasy has been the rising star genre lately. I'll admit, I read a lot of it. It's always so jam packed full of action and horror and fantastical creatures and, as long as it's not YA, some sex thrown in (although even then, sometimes you get some good before-the-cutaway scenes).

It's all so fun and fluffy. So dramatic. No wonder people like it. It's almost like watching television.

Since I enjoy reading the genre so much, I've really wanted to try writing it for awhile.

Enter Camp Nanowrimo. What better genre to write when trying to cram a 50,000 word novel into a month?

And so my first true attempt at urban fantasy is beginning to take shape. I'm roughly 11,500 words in, and I haven't introduced my first supernatural creature yet - at least not a full frontal look. Lots of things lurking in the shadows and the corner of the protagonist's eye. But the big reveal is a scene that's coming up soon, and then it will all be chaos and action and blood and fighting and death. Rawr!

I'm only slightly worried about the fact that I am terrible at writing action scenes.

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Guilty Pleasures Vol 1
I've found while writing this particular story that I am pulling a lot from the Anita Blake novels. Anita Blake is a badass vampire executioner who also happens to be a necromancer. All kinds of baddies from vampires to zombies to shapeshifters make trouble for her. Some of the snippets I've written, jumping ahead in the narrative, have been a bit influenced by Hamilton's world and style. It's also interesting because her books take place in St. Louis, Missouri. So not too far from home, since my story takes place in Lawrence, Kansas.

The other series I am finding myself heavily influenced by is the Mortal Instruments books by Cassandra Clare. I love the world she created, with the angels vs. demons dynamic, not to mention her characters are dynamic and deep. Her pacing is excellent and her dialog is brilliant - laugh out loud funny at times. The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking "these are the books I've always wanted to write." So now I am. I've stolen a couple of character traits and other ideas from her novels. I can't quite nail down the humor, though. I'm just not that funny, I guess. Don't get me wrong, I find myself hilarious, but not many other people get my sense of humor.

Diana, maiden goddess of the hunt
I've also found myself drawing from Greek/Roman mythology. I'm not sure how it happened, but I have two characters based on Roman gods. Their stories are nothing like the stories of those gods, but I've stolen character traits and relationships from these two gods. My protagonist is named Diana, which I thought appropriate since she is going to become a vampire hunter. I've given some of the traits associated with the goddess to her. That's all I will say for now, in case this story turns out to be any good. I would hate to give out spoilers for my own work.

Finally, both surprisingly and unsurprisingly, a lot of my own life experiences have inspired this story. A year ago this month my mother passed away after a long fight against breast cancer. While I am so lucky to have lots of friends and family left, I got to thinking about a person who might not have much family after losing someone close. And what if that person had the only family member she had left violently taken from her? What would that look like? How would I react? I have put a lot of myself into my protagonist, even if she isn't actually me. In a way, all of my protagonists are me, or at least share some of my experiences.

But I digress.

And I procrastinate.

It's time to go work on that novel I've been yammering about.

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