NaNoWriMo: Bi Opportunity?
National Novel Writing Month* is upon us again, and along with the unlikely plots, mountains of clichés and coffee fuelled drivel are the revelations of our subconscious urges in what makes a really good novel.
You might have seen NaNoWriMo mentioned if you are a participant within the blogosphere. When I first came across the name I envisioned some sort of microscopic car or medical development, rather than the far more bland truth of novel writing challenge. The idea is that each participant writes at least 50,000 words in November, this being the theorised length of a novel. The words to not have to be creative, inspiring or interesting. In fact, you can write the most boring dirge where you are the main character and everyone adores you and your supernatural skills. As long as you write 50,000 words of it and prove to yourself that yes, you have the skills to write the first draft of a novel, you are a winner.
The day before you start, you are convinced that your idea is genius and mould-breaking. The first day, faced with a blank computer screen you realise the truth is quite
different, but that night before is essential, because it reveals your beliefs about The Perfect Novel. For example, in mine a magician (bisexual) and a dominatrix (bisexual)
fall in love, while the dominatrix’ secretary (bisexual) makes a comedy of the whole thing by dating the magician while he & the dominatrix try to negotiate their feelings about each other.
Ignoring the… highly creative… storyline, the main characters have a statistically unlikely high level of correlation in the sexuality department. It wasn’t deliberate, but somewhere between making my characters ciphers of myself and wanting characters I could relate to, I wrote them unlike what I have found in previous novels. Thinking this a glitch unique to myself I kept going with my novel that shall never be seen by eyes other than mine. Then I started talking to other bi NaNo-ers. And it wasn’t
just me. Celebrity bi-boy, Bedford Earlobe (not his real name) has written mostly bi characters. In fact, bisexuals really like writing about bisexuals! We want to see bisexuals running shops, bisexuals buying sandwiches, bisexuals travelling through time, and a strange affection for bisexuals having sex.
The problem is, they hardly exist in most books. Straight people a-plenty, a few gays and lesbians, but a noticeable lack of characters talking to their girlfriend about their ex-boyfriend unless they’re the sexy-character. Books with bi characters are also most likely written by bi people: Virginia Woolf, Alan Cumming and Gore Vidal are all documented as having been involved with both sexes, and all have featured bi, or seemingly bi characters in their work. Although we might be lacking in professional skill, we’re doing our best to turn the tide on this one.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another 458 words to write tonight to keep to my predicted word count for the end of this week.
By Bedford Earlobe & Bethan
* November. It’s an internet thing. Ed