This is the first year that Camp NaNoWriMo is being held in April. I suppose they’re doing this to replace the now defunct Script Frenzy which sadly didn’t see all that many participants. (I’m guessing the low numbers may be due to the high barrier to entry–writing scripts require a special format which isn’t exactly intuitive.) However, script writers are welcome to write scripts for Camp NaNo. And there are even flexible word count goals.
Anyways, I’ll be doing this as I’ve always done ever since Camp NaNo was started. I’ve already changed my mind once on the plot which means I could very well change it again later. But so far I do know it’s going to be squarely in science fiction. I don’t have any concrete ideas, let alone an outline, set in stone yet but there are some themes that I want to explore in both a serious and satirical manner.
- Beauty pageants and dog shows. This will probably take up most of the novel. Basically in this universe, an alien species called the Collectors are in charge. They view other species, including humans, as we would view pet cats and dogs. Through “indenture contracts” and other means, the Collectors acquire other species to show off in conformation trials–hopefully to win some prizes. This is also why this writing project is tentatively titled Reserve Winners.
- Xenobiology and alternative relationships. The Collectors are extra-dimensional and sentient fungoid creatures. Humans can only perceive part of them in three-dimensional space. And that part sort of resembles a Lovecraftian fungal monster. Their thought processes are decidedly alien which makes the reason why they have all the conformation trials much more interesting. Because it really isn’t the equivalent of a beauty pageant or dog show to them. It’s for a completely different purpose. Also similar to some fungi on earth, these Collectors have hundreds of different mating types. So relationships between the Collectors will be very complicated.
- Names. A lot of characters will be named after Roman emperors and empresses. It’s a fad just as it’s a fad today to name your kids Jacob or Sophie. In some ways, this is going to make naming characters pretty easy if every other person is named Augustus…
- Genetic engineering. Just as humans have done selective breeding on domestic animals, the Collectors have done some subtle (or not so subtle) nudging with other species.
- Looking beneath the surface. Appearances and motives are never what they seem. The trick, I think, is not to turn this into a mystery or some kind of evil versus good cliche. Things aren’t repulsive, unnatural, or malevolent. Just different, depending on your point of view.
That’s my ramblings about my April writing project so far. How will it gel in the coming days? Who knows. But I’ve been reading a lot of papers on fungal biology so at least I’m learning something.