NaNoWriMo 2007: Drawing Back the Curtain, Part 1 – Setting

How Not To Grow A Beard: Day 03
image-785
I’m going to break this behind the scenes look at my novel-in-progress up into three sections: Setting, Characters and Plot. I don’t think we’ll get into potential spoiler territory until tomorrow.

The story is set in a fictional version of Cleveland, Ohio in the first half of the nineteen century. I say “fictional” because I’m not really trying to adhere to any of the city’s history in the real world. It is entirely possible that I will ultimately change the name of the city (as well as Ohio City, in which part of the story will likely take place and which was a wholly separate entity during this time period). I know as much about Cleveland in the nineteenth century as I do about any other city, but the only truly important element of the setting (at present) is the level of technology:

  • Thomas Edison, instrumental in bringing electric power to the masses, is only a child.
  • The telegraph has yet to come into widespread use.
  • Though there are railroads (such as the Baltimore & Ohio), the transcontinental railroad will not be realized until well into the latter half of the century.
  • I may play things a little fast and loose as far as the availability of other technologies is concerned, but the primary concerns are the limitations on communications and transportation.

There will ultimately be other major American and western European cities in the story, as well, particularly Boston and New York and potentially London, but the majority of the action will take place in Cleveland and Ohio City.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll introduce the cast of characters so far.

3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2007: Drawing Back the Curtain, Part 1 – Setting”

  1. Congrats on the progress so far! Interesting time to place your plot – can’t wait to read more about the specifics.

    I’d like to share more, but I have a problem; once I tell the story, I don’t want to tell it again. Kind of feels like I’m just spinning my wheels, you know? Keeps me from being motivated toward a word count when I let loose too much of my plot.

    Does anyone else get this feeling, Gerall wonders aloud?

    Keep up the great work – I don’t know how you do NaNoWriMo, the NaNoMonkeys and keep up with Laura and your Young Apprentice all at the same time! I merely have a dog (Parson’s terrier), and she’s a pretty serious distraction from the process of 50k words…

    -pax-

  2. Congrats on the progress so far! Interesting time to place your plot – can’t wait to read more about the specifics.

    I’d like to share more, but I have a problem; once I tell the story, I don’t want to tell it again. Kind of feels like I’m just spinning my wheels, you know? Keeps me from being motivated toward a word count when I let loose too much of my plot.

    Does anyone else get this feeling, Gerall wonders aloud?

    Keep up the great work – I don’t know how you do NaNoWriMo, the NaNoMonkeys and keep up with Laura and your Young Apprentice all at the same time! I merely have a dog (Parson’s terrier), and she’s a pretty serious distraction from the process of 50k words…

    -pax-

    You bring up a very valid point, Gerall. Once I’ve outlined the plot, what’s the point in telling the story?

    Well, if the truth be told, these posts are less for my readers than they are for me. Putting them together gets me thinking about my story in different ways, and it gets me thinking about (and writing about) the story, too.

    I’ve had the basic idea for the premise of the novel rolling around in my head for a while now, but until a couple of days before NaNoWriMo began, I hadn’t committed any of the concepts to paper.

    In late October I toyed with Bubbl.us, an online mind-mapping tool, but I found that I was spending more time thinking about how to use the tool and the “proper” way to mind-map than I was actually mind-mapping!

    So what I’m doing now is taking those ideas that are still floating around without any real organization and I’m writing a story and I’m writing blog posts that help make sure I don’t forget any of the ideas when I’m writing the words that actually count this month.

  3. If I may be so bold . . . the point in writing or telling the story, even when the plot is known or obvious is that, for most really well-written books, the WRITING is generally as interesting (if not more than) the story. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and their ilk: it doesn’t really matter what story they’re telling, people read it because of the quality of the writing. How a thing is said can be just as fascinating as what is said.

    It’s like listening to music. Some bands, you recognize just by the sound of the music or by the sound of the singer’s voice. Perhaps you like that specific sound because when another band covers the same song, it just doesn’t sound as interesting to you.

    If you’re really having fun with the writing, you’ll find that in an odd way, the story becomes secondary. Of course, the plot will drive the action, but you will have the most fun coming up with interesting and unique ways to say ordinary things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *