NaNoWriMo prep part 6 — whoa, it’s almost here

Kinda snuck up on me! And part of it was being under the weather for the first part of the week.

Happily I’ve got basics of the story in place, but with plenty of vagueness all around as well. Which is intentional — many of my best ideas in this vein have happened as I was writing the entries, rather than following any preset path.

Furthermore, too much hyperplanning is really impossible at this stage of the game — there’s plenty more I could do in terms of social studies of San Francisco in the late 1800s, and such information will have relevance in later drafts of the story. But what’s important right now is the story itself, and that I can work on. I will repeat again, though, that I’m not aiming at a completed manuscript here, but a 50,000 word baseline to work from. I do have the ending in mind, though, and that’s handy — a point to drive towards. Everything else will fall into place.

Meantime, The Barbary Coast continues to be a fascinating read — and a very barbed and not always sympathetic one, from a viewpoint of decades from its publication. There are scattered references comparing the near-anarchy that thrives in the city in the first couple of decades after the Gold Rush, where criminal gangs and vigilance committees took to each other with fire and assault, with guns and nooses, with then contemporary situations in American cities. I had to remember again that the book was written in the early 1930s, deep into the Great Depression, shantytowns in DC and any number of domestic crises and clashes, not to mention the ‘classic’ era of mobsters and criminals — Al Capone, Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde.

So we’ll see where it all goes. I’m somewhat notorious for driving ahead with my efforts in the past — one time it took me something like five days or so to hit 50,000 words — but this one will probably be much more slowly paced. All feedback will be very welcome!

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