NaNoWriMo: Trapped in a Metaphor of my Own Making

While doing word sprints with Charley on Saturday, I came to the realization that all four of my NaNoWriMo attempts have begun with a similar theme and had a tendency to fall apart in the same place.

2003: Son of God is the story of a young man who was raised to believe that he is the second coming of Jesus Christ. His parents have kept him in seculsion on their property deep in the forests of Montana, never allowing him to have contact with any outsiders. Now that his parents are both dead, the young man must set out to fulfill his destiny; a destiny that lies beyond the gate through which he has never passed.

2004: Bubba is the clone of former President William Jefferson Clinton and has lived his entire short existence in a top secret facility run by a man known only as The Director. The men who created Bubba believe him to be a mindless, soulless creature who will obey their every command, but now Bubba has developed his own personality and a desire for freedom.

2005: Untitled. Ted Gaunt was just a normal guy until he discovered he had abilities that made him far more than human. Now he’s been captured by unscrupulous men who want to explore and exploit his powers. Imprisoned in an underground facility in the Nevada desert, his brain impossibly transplanted to another body, Ted has two goals: get his body back and get home to his family. Unfortunately, The Director has other plans.

2006: Yesterday’s Tomorrow. In the year 2033, Bannister Proulx was sentenced to fifty years in a cryogenic chamber. Three days ago, Bannister was awakened by people who have no idea who he is and don’t believe a word he says. Bannister is a prisoner again, but is he as insane as his captors insist he must be, or is there another, more sinister explanation?

All of the stories involve some manner of imprisonment and escape into a larger world. The imprisonment seems to work fairly well, but the stories all begin to fall apart leading up to or shortly following the escape. In Son of God, the protagonist made it to the front gate of his parents’ property and never climbed over it. In Bubba, the clone escaped and I had no idea what to do with him; same thing with last year’s story (which had 50,000 words but ended with my protagonists driving a Mitsubishi Galant out of Reno).

This year, Bannister Proulx has been questioned and scanned and questioned again. Ultimately, he must escape (with the help of a nurse who is not at all what she appears to be), join up with a group of outcasts and aid them in their struggle against an oppressive government. Eventually, he will learn the truth behind his awakening, the woman he has come to love, and the world in which he lives.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how that escape will come about, I’m having trouble imagining what the world outside of Bannister’s “cell” looks like, and I’m not feeling particularly attached to any of the characters. This story had the most structure and direction of any I’ve attempted thus far, but I’m discovering that I don’t want to write it.

I need to stop trying to write the same story over and over again and start with something new.