Detoxing from NaNoWriMo with The Boys

Oct 11, 2020 | NaNoWriMo Diaries

“Fucking diabolical.” Billy Butcher

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I could never stomach violence.

Want me to binge-watch Black Mirror in one, long sitting without needing a break to consume dog videos? Sure. Got an invitation for a mini-series marathon about serial killers like Ted Bundy or ‘prominent’ sex offenders like Jeffrey Epstein? Hell yeah, sign me up.

But for me to watch something that’s even remotely violent or explicitly gory, I have to be strapped down to my seat with duct tape and bribed with the promise of an Italian feast and Swiss chocolates at the end of it all.

Even then, I’d probably say no. Seriously. I’m the girl that looks at the Parent’s Guide section on IMDB to verify the severity of violence a film in order to mentally prepare myself. I just can’t stomach the blood and the guts and the squelchy, moist noise of human flesh.

(Even the WORD moist is unsettling for me. It sounds…diabolical.)

Or so I believed.

I guess miracles do happen because my best friend wore me down. It started with a casual ask to watch the first season of The Boys, ahead of the second season’s release. Yeah no, that’s a hard pass sweetie.

But five months (yes, it took five months) and several impassioned pleas later, I folded. Especially once he played his cards and creatively sold the show to me, bribing me with the suggestion that it would help as ‘research’ for a superhero-type sci-fi series that I’ve got in the works. Intrigued, I tentatively accepted.

Fast forward to me watching the pilot episode, him repeatedly urging me to close my eyes ahead of the first gore-scene knowing how squeamish I get and me not listening…and proceeding to cackle like a maniac at the explosion of blood and guts.

A questionable reaction from a girl who fears gore? Perhaps.

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He certainly thought so. But the more I watched, the more comfortable I got with the idea of stomaching a few visual horrors in order to immerse myself in a beautifully crafted story.

I’ll admit, my initial courage melted away and I had to hide behind a pillow for some of the graphic fight scenes but man, oh man, the pay-off was worth it.

It got me thinking…it’s kind of the same with writing. Sometimes, we’ve got to step out of our comfort zone to write something new and challenging. We may even require a little nudge from someone else in order to do so.

I’m so glad I got over my ‘gore-fear’ and ate up the first season of the show because now my mind is positively buzzing with inspiration and a plethora of ideas for my own series.

I had designated my Saturdays as my detox days but ended up unknowingly jumping into an ocean of creativity, finally pushing aside my fear of the water. And it was so, so worth it.

Although my sci-fi series isn’t the project I’m picking up for this NaNoWriMo, I certainly think the moral of this story still applies.

This Preptober, I urge my fellow wrimos to immerse themselves in forms of entertainment related to the novel you plan to work on. Try to look for different angles that you wouldn’t otherwise think of.

For example, if you’re writing a school romance, instead of watching the several teen flicks in the genre, try reading a shojo manga/anime (trust me, you can’t go wrong with this! Drop a comment if you want recs.)

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Or maybe you’re planning a horror novel centered around ghosts. Check out The Haunting of Hill House which takes a more psychological approach to the genre (what if we were haunted by the ghosts of our pasts?)

It might not give you the Eureka-moment you’re looking for with your story, but at the very least, it’ll get those creativity wheels spinning and you’ll be entertained.

So, what have you got to lose?


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