NaNoWriMo 2011: A preview

Downtown Salt Lake City in the early 1900s.
Can you imagine this with Zeppelins flying overhead!?

I know that I have barely finished NaNoWriMo 2010 (and by finish, I mean that I wrote 50,000 words.  I had every intention of revising, but as I read it again, I realized it needs so much more work than just revision.  I will save this away as a possible rough draft outline of a novel I may actually want to write someday),  but for now I’m on to bigger and better things.  In 2010 I started with a basic plot idea and a few characters and most of the novel was written by Discovery Writing, or making it up as I went along.  For 2011, I think I want to plan and organize it better before I actually start writing.  Thus I am starting now.

There are a couple of ideas that I am playing with, including one that was shelved in favor of what eventually became 2010’s NaNoWriMo contribution.  The latest idea is a spin off (if not blatant ripoff) of an idea posted by a friend of mine.  I hope he is not too upset, and willing to collaborate with me as I write, maybe we can each get a novel out of this.  He uses this idea in his D20 Modern gaming campaign, but I want to steal his setting and build a novel in that world.

The general idea is Steampunk Mormon Fiction, set in the 1800’s with zeppelins flying between Nauvoo and Salt Lake City.  I would want to make a few tweaks to the setting, though.

I want to set this about 1870’s, the South wins the Civil War, creating the Confederate States of America, The United States of America, and the Mormons out west of the Mississippi in their Zion nation.  I do like the idea Ted has for two major cities, New Nauvoo on the west bank of the Mississippi and The Great Salt Lake City in the State of Deseret, which encompasses all of the western territories and settlements of the Mormons, from Idaho through Utah and into Arizona and Nevada.  But, I would switch where he has his leaders.  For me, it makes more sense for Joseph to be in Nauvoo (The City of Joseph), and Brigham to be in Salt Lake City, the city he founded and established.

The Zeppelins are the crux of the genius for me, though.  That is an idea to have fun with.  Zeppelin ports in the major Mormon cities: New Nauvoo, Great Salt Lake, Fort Boise, maybe Winter’s Quarters as well?

But, all of this is background.  I still need a story, a plot, and main characters.  I’m thinking about a young boy, recently ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood who receives an assignment (from his father? Bishop? Brigham Young?) to take the Zeppelins back to Nauvoo and deliver a message, or a document, or something else equally important.  But on the way the Zeppelin crashes? Is overtaken by Air Pirates? Has mechanical trouble?  And, since I like fun conspiratorial mysteries, he gets involved with something way over his head, as the object he’s delivering is more than it first seemed to be.

I’m excited about this, this could be a fun story to write.  But my goal between now and November is to have a clear outline, preferably chapter by chapter of what I want to happen, clear character descriptions and histories, and an extensive explanation this alternate history.

I would appreciate any insights, comments, suggestions that you may have.  What do you think?  And Ted, can we work something out?

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4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2011: A preview

  1. Ted

    I don’t mind you stealing it at all!

    I made Joseph Smith the leader of Deseret (Salt Lake City) because supposedly he was supposed to escape mob opposition and go into the Rockies. Plus, I like how the Western frontier represents Joseph’s more charismatic, personal style of administration while Nauvoo, which would be more established, represents Brigham’s more traditional, orderly style of administration. Either way, changes don’t bother me.

    The opening session mirrored almost exactly your idea of a plot. Group has to transport a serial killer to Nauvoo for judgment at the courts, and someone attacks. Gonna work Danites in as an ultra-conservative secret combination as the main antagonist.

  2. e-rock

    I’m totally on board with the Zeppelin idea. There is something otherworldy and whimsical about them.
    And air pirates?! It doesn’t get better than that! Will you be posting previews or chapters?

    -E

  3. Anonymous

    I’m thinking the special document should be a further translation, like a piece of the Book of Mormon that got left out.

  4. Pingback: Writing Wednesday: NaNoWriMo 2014 – What am I going to write? | Catchy Title Goes Here

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