This year, taking a holiday in October, I thought I could combine this trip with research for my NaNoWriMo novel for 2013. I was struggling with an idea for this year but as soon as I decided it would take place on a cruise ship within the narrow confines of a fortnight's holiday the novel came alive in my head. The main character jumped at me first - a freelance photographer employed to publicise the flagging company. I like Carys, I have to say. Her foil? Pippa, a woman hiding a couple of dark secrets.
Naturally, my own holiday will feed a lot into the novel. The places I visited will be the places they visit. However, they are already making those places their own. I felt it as I took notes at the end of each day. I dug into how Carys and Pippa would react to places and events in my mind and, thanks to those few minutes of pondering per day, I'm in a very good position as far as knowing the basics of my characters goes, possibly better than I've been before.
Of course, regular readers of this blog will know that I don't really have time to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. This neat little summary dictates what I have to do before 2013 is finished with and the things I'd like to do. NaNoWriMo is on there because it's important to me. I like the deadlines, I like the freedom of just writing. I also like having the ability to justify my writing time to both me and the people around me - participating in NaNoWriMo gives the illusion that my writing time is not time wasted. It might only be a psychological thing but I need the validation that I'm meant to be writing at the moment. Justifying the time I spend on my fictional works is becoming all the more difficult as academic anxiety kicks in.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of this year's novel will be a sense of place. I took hundreds of pictures while I was away, trying to catch the essence of the ports visited far too briefly. Tomorrow, I'll give you an overview of the main places. In the meantime, here's a picture of me being dwarfed by a tree in Cadiz.