It's official. I'm crazy. I've just signed up for National Novel Writing Month
(NaNoWriMo). It's a contest where you (the insane author) competes against time (whose champion is named November). If you write 50,000 words between the beginning and end of the month, you win.
I toyed with a few story ideas I've had floating around for a while, but I'm not sure they're a good match for the self-induced lexical diarrhea that is NaNo. Instead, I'm taking inspiration from Jorge Luis Borges's story A Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain
, which mentions the imaginary book April March
. Borges described a book whose first chapter describes a scene. The following three chapters present mutually-contradictory scenes from the night before. Each of chapters three through five gives a different interpretation to chapter one. Then nine chapters follow, each with a possible chronological antecedent to one of the "second level" chapters, making nine narratives in all.
Borges says Herbert Quain predicted his imitators would employ a branching factor of two instead of three, and that's where I'll start. If the chapters turn out to be 7,000 words each then 7 chapters will take me to the target point; the remaining 1,000 can be a prologue. (Wow. My only tangible connection to 7,000 words is that it's a sizable research paper.) If 4,000 words turns out to be a more reasonable chapter, I'll branch three ways.
If you're looking for something crazy to do this month, sign up! If you're not interested in any of my novel ideas, ignore my posts with this handy Escher icon.