NaNoWriMo 2011: Seeker Lover Keeper

For those who know their Aussie music, they will immediately pick the  misappropriatation of the working title for my NaNo project. Lover Seeker Keeper are the sublime songstresses Holly Throsby, Sally Seltman & Sarah Blasko who released their self titled album earlier in the year. I immediately fell in love with it.

During the last round of school holidays I was driving home from seeing “One Day” and Theme I came on the stereo (off the Lover Seeker Keeper album). I stopped and replayed it and counted off the number of lyrics, as any good founding editor of Literary Mix Tapes would. When I got to twenty I knew the song had legs for an anthology.

In the next breath I decided I was keeping it for me <cue Smeagol voice> All mine.

Given I was suddenly gifted 24 beautiful lyrics, I decided to the idea which launched Chinese Whisperings and eMergent Publishing. A collection of interconnected stories (first spawned in 2007!) I bought a little green book, wrote down the individual lyrics and set out to collect images – starting with a lava lamp and the glow of the BP servo sign.

At the centre of the original stories was a man who has a phobia of crossing the road and had spent a considerable chunk of his life, living on the one block. I almost didn’t return to the original idea of the guy with the phobia, having pulled several characters from other unfinished stories as a motley crew to base some stories on and several of them firing in their new environment. When I told Laura what I had planned for NaNo she convinced me to include my agyrophobic man.

So at the centre of my stories is Robert Willard, aged 38, who has spent the last 15 years living on the block which houses the art deco apartment building he lives in. Next door is Lucinda Allard, a thirty-something lawyer who is more or less his support person. Living above Robert is Amanda,  an 18 year old woman, who has recently inherited the apartment belonging to the father she never knew. There are three other occupants who have yet to reveal themselves to me.

The book opens with Robert dreaming of his lost girlfriend, dreams bought on by the stress of preparing to say good-bye to Lucinda who is leaving on an extended holiday to Malaysia.

My intention is for the stories to all stand alone, but also to criss-cross and illuminate different parts of the larger narrative in the way the Yin & Yang Books do. It’s ambitious and something I wasn’t audacious enough to try five years ago (when I opted instead to write a semi-political  thriller).Even now, with The Red Book and  Yin &Yang Book under my belt as an editor, it’s a frightening brief as a single writer.

I’m supplementing the images from my bag of bones, aka little green book, with a stellar collection of photos from Laura, (which with Laura’s permission) I’ll post up here every day with my own random prompts of one liners and music. I’m also using the tree archetypes “lover”, “seeker” & “keeper” to help flesh out the motivations of my characters. Lucinda is a seeker, Robert a keeper and Amanda a lover… now! But all good characters evolve and grow over the course of a book so I expect when I write my final posts at the end of the month, they will have changed. And then there’s random things, like Adam Byatt giving me tongue-in-cheek grief about writing erotica and offering me a virtual cigarette – which was just perfect for the image for the scene I had just written.

There’s not much else to say other than, welcome to my NaNo project! Most absolutely literary fiction, which is a big leap for me away from spec fiction, but you never know what might happen. Already there is a spectre on a street corner smoking a cigarette?

What is your NaNo project?

Image found at Kukhahnyoga’s Blog.

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