NaNoWriMo 2015: a beginning

About half an hour ago, I have officially started writing for NaNoWriMo. Over the past weeks, while re-reading the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (which I’m writing essays about instead of writing my own fiction), I’ve been figuring out in my mind both what I’m doing and how. Though I’m still going to figure it out mostly as I go along, I did decide to keep you guys updated to a certain extent. There’s probably going to be snippets here, extracts if I have something I’m particularly. And since today is the kick-off, I decided to share the introduction I’ve just been working on.

Enjoy, and let me know if you have any advice!

INTRODUCTION


At the end of September 2015, after watching a YouTube video by Holly Dunn and Jen Campbell on the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, I thought it was time to revisit the books myself. It’d been several years since I’d last read them, and while watching these two women answer questions about the books I realised I wouldn’t have any answers because I didn’t remember the books that well.

On October 6th, I opened the first pages again.


A couple of days later, I had an idea. During the aforementioned video, Jen Campbell mentioned having written her thesis on the topic of sexuality in HDM and her theory that daemons are representative of sexuality. From the beginning, I didn’t agree – daemons, to me, are so much more than sexuality. So suddenly I had the idea of keeping track of everything said about daemons so I could create my own theory of exactly what daemons are.

My brain being my brain, unfortunately, this idea progressed quickly. To be fair, at this one point, I was still doing alright, just calmly enjoying the story and paying attention and putting the occasional sticky note on a page.

Then, one night, I couldn’t sleep. My room was sticky, hot, and my brain was in one of those moods where everything is in overdrive. Sleep was definitely out of the question. That was when suddenly I had the idea of not just keeping track of sexuality & daemons, but of more topics. And not only that, I could try my hand at writing essays! Maybe they’d be good material for videos for my YouTube channel, or I could turn them into blogposts, who knew.

I gave up on sleep entirely when my treacherous mind decided 2AM was a great time to start planning exact topics.

In the end, this is what I came up with: I was going to write essays for NaNoWriMo 2015, on 5 different topics addressed in His Dark Materials. These topics were:
-Science (/Dust)
-Religion
-Sexuality & Gender
-Daemons
-Women/feminism

On top of that, I decided to keep track of other possibilities of interest. I also decided to, at least at first, try to split it all up evenly. The goal is to write (at least) 10.000 words for each topic, though I’m definitely not going to force that goal. What happens, happens, as they say .

And now, November 1, here I am. At the time of writing, I have not yet finished rereading the books (less than 200 pages to though). There’s a section of the book I still need to work through to make sure I put tabs at potentially useful information. I have no idea how to write essays either, nor have I ever had to really bother with proper research before.

To me, therefore, this year’s NaNoWriMo project is going to be a massive challenge, a great undertaking of the kind I have never attempted before. This might all be a big mistake, this might turn out to be the best and most fun thing ever. I might give up within the first week. There’s no saying what will happen.

What I do know, is that I’m looking forward to challenging my brain again. I look forward to pushing myself, without any help from outside. I look forward to writing, and digging into these stories and finding out more about them and the theories behind them. I even look forward to creating a (short) list of headcanons.

It’s been too long since I properly used my brain and intellect to grab onto something and to keep digging (as you can see by my continuous use of the word ‘digging’). Too long, I’ve felt numb and useless and un-challenged. I have a parttime job that’s the opposite of challenging, combined with anxiety and depression that try their very best to keep me down at all times.

It’s been too long.

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