NaNoWriMo #5: A Novelist’s Mission

The end of the month is fast approaching, and the end of National Novel Writing Month with it. Over the course of the month I have typed my fingertips off from typing at a speed achievable only by the seven gallons of caffeinated beverages I have consumed this month. NaNoWriMo is mostly a mad rush of words. Writers being encouraged to “just write”’ and not think too much about what they are writing, lest they slow down and fall behind; editing can come later, the time right now is for writing. But while reflecting on your own writing is a bad idea, reflecting on writing in general is not.

Writing is the sharing of information. For thousands of years it was the only way to record thoughts. Even in the modern age of music, movies, and media, it usually starts with someone writing down the lyrics, script, or ideas first; before branching out into a whole new medium.

Many novelists participating in NaNoWriMo are writing novels that are strictly fun or entertainment; a passionate romance or comedic memoir, which are certainly thoughts but do not depend on deep ideas or seek to change people’s minds. I, however, am not one of them.

I am among the small group of writers who hopes to get published, and hopes to put their words in other people’s heads, and their ideas in other people’s minds.

Right now the world is standing on an edge, and the potential for drastic change has never been greater. There are many paths we can take and many mistakes we can make, but one thing is for sure – we have to move forward. Even if it won’t stop some people from trying, digging in our heels and staying put is no longer an option.

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” There are many people around us who refuse to move forward and refuse to see that the old ideas no longer work in the modern times. Set in a dystopian future of 2084, I explore the idea of an entire society “going insane” – what happens when the people who refuse progress are the ones in power?

It isn’t pretty. World War Three and the Second Civil War ruin the Los Angeles of 2084. It takes all the very worst parts of our culture and amplifies them, while mourning how our best traits have all vanished into the mayhem of our fictional future. I question the structure of society, the nature of faith, and the very identity of humanity itself.

I am sure if I ever get published, I will get hate mail, or even threats for some of the ideas I represent. When I rip apart respected institutions of our day and age and imply that our salvation lies in the dregs of society, I don’t expect otherwise. People will be furious at me for pointing out the flaws in their faith, their culture, and their very world view; and in such a sardonic matter.

But it does mean that they are thinking about my ideas. And as a writer, that means one thing: mission accomplished.