Because There's This Story, See (OS Archives 2014)

 Written in response to, "Why are you doing NaNoWriMo?"  This piece first published at


Because there's this story, see...

and maybe it's more than one story. A series of stories. I don't know, but the characters are starting to get loud. 

So far, I haven't written a word down.

My first character popped up when I was studying - a girl, about age 11 - she is wearing a clay pendant around her neck, a goddess figurine.

She comes from a time so far outside the realm of today that I begin to imagine what her days might look like - while studying archaeology, reading the myths and fairytales of the lands - seeing what clues to her life they might reveal.

Months along (years along, frankly), copious notes are taken, but no story begun.

The girl gets restless.

At first I thought this girl might be a quiet one, but she let me know right away that she is *not* quiet. In one scene that shoved its way into my imagination - disregarding my resistance entirely - this girl disrupts a sacred community ritual (welcoming the yearly return of the beluga sturgeon) when...somebody....arrives home from a long distance trading journey downriver.

or upriver.

Arriving with that somebody is a stranger - one who will spark a chain of events...

well, so far that is all I know about this stranger. I stay tuned. 

These characters' lives, their motivations, desires...all still in my head.

I ask myself, "When are you going to start writing?" So far, I don't.

The girl, the somebody, the mysterious stranger, begin to disrupt my trains of thought - at work, during dinner, even bursting into other books I am reading. They demand: I'm not leaving until you write my story.

I put them off, weaving and re-weaving their ever-growing-more-complex strands of life solely in my mind. 

At some point, another girl, or a couple of girls show up...there's a, the old ways...the girls come from three villages upriver...these all show up in plot imaginings.

In this mental first draft, anyway.

Keeping the various strands straight is growing evermore difficult.

I think of NaNoWriMo coming up in November. Boundaries. Deadlines. Free cheerleading. 'Thirty days hath November' - a beautiful, easily divisible, number of days. These characters have come wafting in and they need their stories to be written...and I need the structure to do it.

There is a true, (pre)historical theme that wafted in with these characters:  someone in that world began to covet gold and individual gain - for the first time, by archaeological evidence. This change in mindset seems to be influenced by new tribes, horse riders, arriving from the east.

These dynamic horse riders bring their own beliefs - in a Father God - to cultures where only the worship of the Great Mother has ever been known.

My characters are growing up in this time of vast change:  Old Europe. 4300BC. The end. The time when this mainly cooperative, widespread culture that lasted for eons, suddenly disappears from the archaeological record.

These girls to women, 

these characters' adventures,

these dynamic, long-gone cultures.....the ties to today.

Restless characters, demanding their stories are told.

That's why I am jumping in for the second time this November - going for 50,000 words. Thank goodness for deadlines and cheerleaders - we writers, and our characters, need you. 








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This was not what I was supposed to be doing with my day....
Thanks Libby!! At this point I am so ready to begin. I really appreciate how NaNoWriMo (am I the only person who bother to spell that just so??) gets this writer going : ) 
Last year, I made it to 30,000+ words...and have been writing ever since. That's worth a lot, right there.
I think these characters telling you to tell their story just got their story told! If I were still in my postmodern phase (and its influence is not entirely defunct--it makes demands on me!), I'd say you have reworked the concept of narrative, creased it against itself, sent it skidding against the grain. But, having (mostly) escaped that phase, I'll simply say I found this story of a gestating story, a story waiting to be born, captivating and dexterously done.
You've got my interest for sure! Best of luck on NanoWriMo!
Just had a gander at the website for nanowrimo 2014... interesting proposition... Emmerling and I did 10,000 words in October... 50,000 in thirty days is 1667 per day with no time off for good behavior... hmmm. R&R ;-)
Sounds like all you have to do is write get to it! That period is a bit before Stonehenge was build. I just read a book about recent archaeological work at the site, and some of the things scientists are learning about Mesolithic communities. Might make some interesting research. R
I wish you all-best and I do hope you know that when you're ready, we can play w some prose on the radio.

The way these characters appear in your head, and the process of you moving them along as well as your desire to put it into writing is fascinating. It's completely foreign to me, characters and stories don't appear in my head. I would love to be a fly on your wall this November, even more, I wish I could read your mind as you were letting their stories out. I'm looking forward to any bits and pieces you write about it later.
Yes~hoping you share some of the offerings, characters that ache to be acknowledged must be~
No one does with their days what they are supposed to, do they? Or just not the people I want to know...
Concur with Jerry that the story about the story is woven very well.
This sounds like a story I would buy the book for and enjoy, I love that time period in fiction. I'll put out good thoughts for you. :)
Hi guys, I felt insecure in posting this - thanks for your comments, it helps!
Peasant Stew on the stove, back in a bit to reply...
this is the beginning of something juicy....I love the energy and the mystery. girls are mysterious to begin with. a story about girls can go anywhere. girls and mothers and goddesses. 

and patriarchs on horseback. 

I like this NaNoWriMo idea of writing like that, compulsively. something good is bound to come from all that and you're a good writer to start with. I like what Jerry said, too. 

well, you write it, I'll be here to read it. :)
crap, is it time again already?? damnit! i am not ready! i will try tho.
I have tried this and failed.. GOOD LUCK TO YOU and let us know how it goes..:)
This was awesome! Right on! I love how you described the flashes of plotline, the way this character came to you - I totally, totally know what you mean. But you are taking the plunge and actually trying to write it all down. Bravo a million times over! I'm definitely one of your cheerleaders!!!! Good luck!!!!!
Thanks so much for all your comments - re-reading this this morning, I realize how much more complex my plot plans are than what I wrote....and maybe I didn't fill in enough pieces....but. For now, you get the gist.

Thank you, Jerry, any of your comments has me smiling and standing up a bit straighter, you know.

Thanks, ChillerPop! Will keep you posted...

jmac, you write so prolifically, you're a perfect candidate for NaNo!!

Gerald, in my work life, I have researched mostly in the Mesolithic through Bronze era - more centered in Eastern and Central Europe, as that's where the action was way before Stonehenge.....this civilization disappeared near to a thousand years before the western Europe's megalith builders....some of whom are quite possibly descendants having moved west. Central Europe was known for its wooden henges in an earlier era, in use for only 2-300 years, the earliest, the Goseck circle in Germany, around 4900 BC.
I love what they're finding around Stonehenge - and now what they've realized is underneath! Fascinating stuff : )
Thank you, Jon : )

l'Heure, your comment intrigued me! Funny how differently minds can be, even similar ones as some of what you've described in mental processes seem so similar to how my mind works.
We differ with characters showing up in the mind, I see - and if I remember correctly, you're mechanically-minded? do well with 3D? while I really struggle with 3 dimensional figurings and step-by-step figuring out things.
I do hope one of us gets on a highway soon, I've always wanted to visit your area, too. Looks so beautiful up there.

I'm packing up for a trip today! not sure when I'll have time to get back and reply some more, but I'll do my (sometimes sorry-ass) best.
Thanks again for coming by : )
i love this. i'm in awe of all that you know about these ancient times, mesolithic, bronze age. i love the restless girl with the pendant. has me thinking about Alice Hoffman but she does that magical realism stuff most of the time. maybe i'm thinking of the Red Tent. i'm thrilled for you & am here to cheer you on if you need it in the wee hours.
The idea is not to fear precognition.
My friend Morris Gleitzman ( Once, Then, Now, After + about 30 other books he gets 6-figure advances for, I know, I'm a totally shameless name-dropper but he's my friend I'm allowed :-) writes everything from the perspective of an 11 year-old. It made him a household name here & in Europe. Great website when you have time.
I WON'T show him this page because he'd steal it & make even more money & he of all people doesn't need it.
If you want a publisher I've got one in mind : Dyan Blaclock @ Omnibus ( subdivision of Scholastic, she's weak in the knees about all things Paleolithic.)
It's beautiful, JT. Don't let it go. Tell it.
Greetings from a Maryland coffee shop.
Beautiful sunny day....rental car has some zip to it....
just had a great meetup with Rita in Pa....
Life is Good.

Thank you for your comments!!
and Kim - I'm a little verklempt.
(...and here I was going to say, don't tell G. my story plot as she'd take it way farther and better than I ever could : ))
G just sent me a link to a paper she had published from London to her Uni ( Macquarie) here ~ history of Jewish settlement/acceptance in the US 1830-now ~ she's not a fiction writer, no danger ;-)
So glad to read these words :

Life is Good.
Would she mind my reading it?
Sounds pretty interesting : )

I'm not sure I'm a fiction writer, either, but I'm going to attempt. Guess it will for others to decide whether I actually am one or not.

Yes, a little queasy today after delicious New Zealand Pinot gris last night (blasphemous, I realize, to your 'ears' maybe), but Life is certainly Good.
(Purple watching, in the coffee shop currently....different gene pool here than our neck of the woods. Much less hair on men, in general, back east : ))

Off to the east side of the Chesapeake for some reason, completely not the correct direction, but - son is ruling the route we take and he wants to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.)
Strangers in a Strange Land: Jewish Immigrants in America, 1836-1914, pp. 58-67.
Full Text (PDF)
sounds like a fabulous trip! so happy for you, girl.
you're busy writing! just wanted to peek in and say hi!
Hi Janie - I've spent the first week of NaNoWriMo driving all around Pa., Maryland, NY, and Ct. 
Writing will have to catch up when we get back home as my mind, eyes, and heart are just too full of happy times and family to even think of my story at the moment...but I prepped well, researching for years.
I love that you checked in!!
Thanks : )
I've had a story somewhat similar percolating for years and it is one of my excuses for following the Mayan calendar. I needed a way to free my mind from our societal constructs to be able to write it. 

I've got pieces of this story scattered in several spots and I have three different timelines at work in it. But it will take place on this continent if it ever gets written.

Good luck with this. I look forward to reading more
I've had a story somewhat similar percolating for years and it is one of my excuses for following the Mayan calendar. I needed a way to free my mind from our societal constructs to be able to write it. 

I've got pieces of this story scattered in several spots and I have three different timelines at work in it. But it will take place on this continent if it ever gets written.

Good luck with this. I look forward to reading more

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