My first week of NaNoWriMo has been a bit of a drag. Compared to the previous years (and their successful 100k written in November), it feels weird to fall behind on the daily progress towards 50k. I know why that is, though: this is the first year I use NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to rewrite an existing project.
The original draft of The Phoenix’s Wake has quite a few problems, which is why I’m rewriting it from scratch. But there are also things in there that I love, and these things that I want to preserve held me back from just pushing ahead with the new draft. Without realizing it at first, I held myself at a ridiculously high standard for a draft: it had to be better than the original, but not too different.
That’s nuts. I can’t walk that line and write 1,667 words a day. And the truth is: I shouldn’t even attempt it. The Phoenix’s Wake needs a new voice and identity. That’s why I’m rewriting it instead of editing it.
I figured that I should put together a soundtrack to help me steer myself into a new mind space for this story.
And I hit Playlist Block.
I posted this of Saturday, and a couple of people have participated by joining the discussion in some way or adding songs to the Spotify playlist. I figured I would take the time to give a bit more context for the story here, in case other people want to help give The Phoenix’s Wake its new flavor.
The Phoenix’s Wake is an urban fantasy mystery that deals with themes of grief, independence/self-identity and racial segregation.
Drea Cente is the main character. She passes for Latina, but she’s actually Mayan. Since she’s a Gorgon, she looks and acts like a 30-ish year-old even though she’s 149, and she morphs from human to snake woman and can turn people into stone. She’s a bit of a hothead, fiercely loyal, and relying on others to keep organized. Without going into her personal history too much, she was born in 1866, went through a war and circus slavery until 1929, then enjoyed a few good years with Ramses. 1943 to 1963 was hell on her, and she basically quit human society. She has led a normal-ish life since then, and is now a detective with the Wilmington Myth Police. At the start of the story, she has lost Ramses and gets stuck with an untrained human on an oddly familiar case.
Keith Russo is said human and is as red-blooded American as they come. He has experience in human homicide, but has never worked with Myths before which causes him to have dangerous assumptions about how to interact with his new team. He’s stuck between doing what his superintendent wants (observe the Myths and learn better ways to control them) and what he knows to be right (protect and serve.) Drea tries her best to teach him the rope, but he tends to get in his own way (and she’s not the best teacher.) He’s 34, hyper organized and has two kids with his wife.
Ramses Cairo is an egg. I’m serious; he’s a Phoenix in the process of being reborn. Before that, he was Drea’s adoptive father and work partner. He rescued her in 1929 and took her under his wing until he spontaneously combusted in 1943. After being reborn in a Phoenix sanctuary, he exited the sanctuary, a 20 year-old version of himself with half the memories of his previous life, and rejoined with Drea (1963.) He combusted again the night before the beginning of the story, and Drea fears that he may forget her this time. She’s grieving, but trying to keep it together without him. He was the one with wisdom and social skills.
The world they live in is an alternate version of today. Since everyone started having a good quality camera in their pocket a few years ago, an increasing number of myths got photographed or recorded and posted on social media. Five years ago, the Grand Reveal happened; Myths announced their existence. Humans didn’t react very well. By now, all Myth politicians have been voted out of office, except for the governor of Delaware because the state has a high concentration of Myths. Human-on-myth violence is fairly under control, but the human public services won’t support them. Myths have their own lawyers, medical services, police, etc. but there aren’t enough of them to organize the way human services are.
Okay, I think I’ve said enough. If you want to add music to the Spotify playlist, I would recommend that you start adding tracks without checking out what others put in. This way, you won’t be influenced in your decisions, and I’ll have different takes on what my characters sound like to people. 😉
And what about you guys? Are you NaNo-ing? How is it going?