National Novel Writing Month has concluded and so have I. Where as the first book seemed to pour out of me, this second book took everything I had to finish. Despite having 34 characters (4 primary, 8 secondary, the rest tertiary), I really struggled to make a compelling plot this year. But I have a number of options and areas worth pursuing that were unknown 30 days ago. So again I salute the NaNoWriMo process.
The story is about a young chemical botanist named Elizabeth Hamilton who happens upon a legendary plant, the Temperate Mandrake, while part of an Alaskan eco-cruise. The plant’s nectar, when consumed, is alleged to provide ever lasting life. The plant becomes an obsession for Elizabeth, seeking to understand every aspect of the plant and finding frustration with its atypical life cycle.
Laura Stempson, another passenger on the cruise, also take an interest in the flower, but sees it as a gift to all people and seeks to have the flower taken from Elizabeth so that it might be distributed in such a way to extend the lives of those who would most benefit society, instead of just those who can afford it.
The primary storyline, I suppose, becomes a sort of Lord of the Rings, though not as clearly defining the lines between good and evil. I’ve tried to put the Mandrake at the center of several different debates (religious versus atheist, individual versus collective, seven deadly sins, and corruption versus system), while maintaining a story that stays true to the characters.
For now, have four to six weeks to let the story bake in my head. No doubt, it will be refined to something completely different that what’s currently on the (electronic) paper. My goals for the rewrite are as follows:
- Augment the story with more details. Currently, the story is very heavy on dialog.
- Develop a secondary storyline that better crosses paths with the primary – illustrate the curve balls life throws
- Round out the characters in a Meyers-Briggs matrix and ensure consistent behavior and character development throughout the book
- Find a more compelling way to end the story