NaNoWriMo Begins!!!

02 Nov 2006

That's a photo of a Storyville (New Orleans) whore, taken circa 1912 by photographer EJ Bellocq. While thinking up a plot for this year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) event, I briefly entertained the notion of writing up a fictional biography of a whore from the Storyville district of New Orleans. Incidentally, this all stems from my lifelong interest in early piano jazz and ragtime, which owes quite a debt to the tenderloin districts of America's cities at the turn of the century. If it weren't for prostitution, basically, much of our popular music would likely be entirely different today.

While that may be an interesting project, two factors influenced my decision to pursue another plot: (1) it's surely been done before -- which, I know, is not a very good reason to avoid anything (because it's all been done before, right? -- and, as Pope said, "true wit is nature to advantage dress'd / what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd"), and (2) such a project, if done right, would require a ton of research, and that's tough to squeeze into 30 days of tough writing deadlines. (I did a historical piece last year, and I think I spent twice as much time researching as writing.)

In short, just like last November, I'll write 50,000+ words this month. Unlike last November, though, this novel's going to be 75,000+ words (a marketable length). And, though I'm giving up my whore plot, I began my completely different, modern tale, with a small homage to that initial idea.Here's the opening few graphs:

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"Whores!"

Mrs. [xxx] shouted just as she'd done each time [xxx] and [xxx] returned home past midnight. In a strange bit of irony, the old bat's word penetrated neither young woman. Instead, the affront swirled amid the surrounding row houses, waking at least three neighbors -- just one of whom spoke up in defense of the sisters.

"Shut th' fuck up!"

The rough-hewn response emanated from somewhere in the humid darkness, not unlikely from Mr. [xxx]'s screened-in porch across the street. The women smiled and flashed appreciative nods and waves toward [Mr. xxx]. They couldn't see him, but knew he'd likely be three sheets to the wind, lounging in what he called his "Florida room," a quiet 50s-era fan oscillating near his feet.

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Plus, I wanted a snazzy first word, you know? Fuck all that talk about a great 1st sentence hook. I say hook 'em with a single word! And, what better word than Whores to start the ball rolling? Well, I won't bore you with progress reports here. They have a whole web site for that stuff. (BTW, I hinted to Monstro from my blogroll that he'll relate to the final product of this work. The above text should not be taken as representative of that comment.) More later ... 2:00 a.m.!!!??? Fuck, I'll be a zombie 'till December.

Original Comments

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On November 6, 2006, Kevin Wolf wrote:

Good luck. I hope your energy level holds up.

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