Way back during National Novel Writing Month 2010 – almost a full year before the inception of Ever On Word, the blog I never seriously thought I’d have – I got the zany little idea that trying to write 50,000 words was not an outrageous enough 30-day goal. Oh, no, not for this writing maniac! I was going to do a few thousand better than that: On top of the novel, I was going to write very much blog-like articles and post them weekly in the notes of my “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” Facebook page!
That’s right, I was insane even then. But the insanity produced a novel I love and some writing-related nonfiction pieces I’m not actually ashamed of. In fact – and partly in honor of my current participation in Camp NaNoWriMo – I’d like to share them with you. And you can’t stop me. So I’m gonna. (: Below is the first of my pre-blog posts (slightly abridged. Like I said: Writing maniac).
The Making Of…: “Where Did That Come From??”
I’m one of those people who really enjoy finding out more about the creative process behind the media I like. Things like chats with the actors and viewing early conceptual art are way cool to me. My personal library includes “behind the scenes”-type books for “Narnia”, “Lord of the Rings”, even the “Everybody Loves Raymond” syndicated sitcom. I get a bigger kick out of watching “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” with the director’s commentary than with watching the movie straight. That’s just the way I roll.
So, since I’ve got this “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” page going, and since I believe that you – my fans (or whoever is reading this… Mr. Stranger Danger, is that you? It’s been too long) – deserve more than merely a daily word count update and out-of-context quotes, I decided that in honor of this first weekend of National Novel Writing Month, I should begin a new bit o’ fun here in “BoA-a-D”-s notes: “The Making Of…:” behind the scenes special feature! *cheers, fanfare, confetti…*
For my first topic, I thought we could start at the very beginning.
Let’s answer some “who”-s, “what”-s, “where”-s, etc.
Who do we have to thank for alerting me to the big fat fun that is NaNoWriMo? That would be my dear aunt, who – knowing of my literary aspirations – thought that I might find this international phenomenon worth checking out. Spoiler alert: She wasn’t wrong.
What did I do to start preparing mentally/emotional/physically/psychologically for the challenge that is writing a 50,000+-word novel in 30 days? Starting October 1st (the day I was told of NaNoWriMo; my sister’s birthday; the Frabjous Day according to the Vorpal One’s FB page… however you want to remember that long-ago day), I began letting the back of my mind sift through ideas for what I might want this new project to be about. A few weeks later, I finally signed-up on the NaNo website and started trying to make my presence known by “adding writing buddies”, contributing in various forums, and – even before any of that – customizing my profile page to suit my NaNo alter-ego (who bears a strong resemblance to the actual me, I must say…).
By the end of October, I was spending more time chatting with complete strangers than I was with my near-and-dear family, glued to the seat in the house guaranteed to offer up the best internet signal strength and thus my best chances for actually being able to operate online, and going some three or four hours after waking before remembering that, oh yeah, I should probably have some breakfast.
That’s when I knew that I was ready.
Where did the concept for “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” come from? Honestly, I can’t even remember where the idea first started; and whenever I try to, my brain just ends up making up more and more gorgeously serendipitous lies. All I know is that a) I love Robin Hood, b) I love the Renaissance Faire, and c) I can’t seem to get enough of filling my books with cameo appearances by characters from other books I wrote, making overcomplicated interconnections between them and their “realities”, and otherwise making the whole Danielle E. Shipley canon into one, big, happy family of a story, each separate piece acting as but a tiny snapshot of this world of my creation as a whole.
So with all that in mind, writing “BoA-a-D” was kind of a no-brainer.
Why do I think that copies of the finished “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” will one day (sooner, hopefully, rather than too much later) be in bookstores around the world, on the shelves of homes everywhere, and (crowning glory!) be found in a slightly sorry state that can only mean much appreciative handling by kids who haven’t got the faintest clue about how to treat a library book?
Because I intend for the finished product to be good. Very good. So good, that it just might be the book that gets me that long-awaited A-OK from a literary agent, and that literary agent will arrange for all the selling and hyping and other business-aspect-of-writing stuff that I’d much prefer not to do alone. And of course, you – my fans (and Mr. Stranger Danger, too) – will be right there with pen in hand, wanting your copies signed, because you’ve been following my progress right along and already know in your heart of hearts that you can’t WAIT to read this “Ballad” you’ve been reading so much about!
Well, we’re all just going to have to be patient, aren’t we? Because the book isn’t written yet* – nor will it be, if I spend too much more time in side pursuits like this. So I’m gonna wrap this up, get it added to the notes where it belongs, and then get back to where I left Allyn and Will Scarlet at the Faire.
*P.S. and happy days: It’s written. Happier days when it’s at last up for sale. Still being patient…