Summary of Nanowrimo 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I started to write a post mortem of Nanowrimo 2009. When I used the analogy of a car crash in my first paragraph, I realized that perhaps this was not going to be the best use of a musing. There were many problems with my story, but even with all the problems it fulfilled my goal of writing again. Looking back through my website, except for notes to my Horribles, I have not written much of anything in almost a year. It was good to write words again, even though I knew I’d never post those words.

This year’s story was about a group of immortals loosely based on the The Highlander movie. The gift of immortality was an incantation that was passed from teacher to student. The immortality spell stopped the aging process. There was a catch: any immortal who cast the spell beyond their 121st birthday lost their soul. They were the same person but they did not have the ability to distinguish between good and evil.

The immortals were loosely governed by a guild. The guild’s primary goal was to ensure that soulless immortals did not run amok and destroy civilization. As the price of immortality, new immortals had to hunt and kill the soulless immortals.

The story took place after the shattering of the guild. On his 121st birthday, Frankie Names, the guild leader, threw a party to celebrate the end of his leadership and immortality. He invited the leading guild members from around the world. At the end of the party Frankie blew up the building and killed all the immortals. He was the only person who escaped the party. Frankie was interviewed widely as the sole survivor of the tragedy. During his interviews, he revealed to the world the presence of immortality.

The story unfolded to reveal this backdrop through the viewpoint of three protagonists. James Pleasant was a Naginata student whose immortal teacher, Tomlin, used her class to identify potentials to recruit. Tomlin introduced James to the bloody world of the immortals. Tomlin was a member of a splinter group of immortals who left the guild before Frankie shattered it. Her group took a more spiritual approach to immortality, believing that they should use their immortal gift to improve the world.

Craig Stevens, an arrogant news broadcaster, weaseled his way into being the first person to interview Frankie on national television. Craig was a skeptic who built his reputation by outing frauds who claimed to have magical or spiritual powers. During the show Frankie whispered the secrets of immortality to Craig before disappearing from the studio. Craig involuntarily received the gift of immortality, and was hunted and forced to join the arm of the guild that controlled the federal government. This fragment of the guild used its powers to control the non-immortals for the benefit of the immortals.

Samantha was a short, overweight dual-sword wielding immortal hunter. She spent the past fifty years perfecting her physical training to the exclusion of all else. After falling in love with Esther from a distance, Samantha attempted to recruit Esther, a tall lithe potential. Esther already shared her body with Henry McDougal, a much older immortal who escaped the 120-year immortality limitation by sharing bodies with other immortals. Henry used Samantha and Esther to help Frankie Names in his attempts to reunite and retake control of the guild.

The story told how the different factions of the guild fought each other for the future direction of the guild. Each faction searched for Frankie Names for different ends. While this internal guild war went on, the rest of the world began to react to the existence of immortals. Part of the world wanted to capture and study the immortals. Another part wanted to learn their secrets by joining them. The factions of the guild used these willing recruits to further their aims in the internal war.

There was more, of course, including an ending of sorts. The story I summarized above is a slightly idealized version of the story I actually wrote. Many of the larger themes and plot elements didn’t come out until the end—usually through overly long dialogue expositions. Also, the end didn’t resolve much. The main characters met and fought and there was resolution only for my word-count goal.

As happened last year (and the four years before that—I can’t believe this is number six), what I ended up with was a rough outline of a story. Whether I will one day go back and actually tell these stories I do not know. What these rough (and wordy) outlines give me is hope.