Mr. Cat…Goes to Mars?

31 Oct

I’ve taken down the majority of this post, mainly so my novel plot idea won’t be floating around on the Internet forever.  This was originally a post asking for advice on whether or not I should continue forward with an idea I had for a novel after seeing something traumatic (and related to it) in person.  We saw the traumatic event occur two days before NaNoWriMo 2009 began, hence the need for advice (and all the comments on this post!).  

Here’s the tail end of the post, left in tact largely for the question at the bottom and especially for the picture, which never fails to make me laugh:


At this point, my only other idea is Mr. Cat Goes to Mars.  Um…yeah.  This started as a joke, but if I don’t decide soon, or think of something else, I might just spend the next month writing 50,000 words about Remy the Cat navigating a spaceship (can’t you imagine him doing this, based on this oh-so-cute photo of him?).  He’s cute, but I’m not so sure he’s 50,000 words cute.

Thoughts?  Opinions?  How do you guys handle topics you’re afraid of, or do you handle them at all?  

20 Responses to “Mr. Cat…Goes to Mars?”

  1. Merrilee Saturday / 31 October 09 at 8:37 pm #

    I think you’re tackling some heavy material here. There are, as you say, issues and emotions to deal with.

    That is never a reason not to write something.

    Write it. Explore it. Learn from it.

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:48 am #

      When I first read this, I thought, Gah. Merrilee is so right, dang it. Thanks for saying, simply, what I needed to hear. This is excellent, excellent advice, and I’m grateful.

  2. J.C Saturday / 31 October 09 at 9:23 pm #

    I’m with Merrilee – if a story idea is big and scary, I tend to take it as a sign that it’s room for my potential growth, it’s a learning curve I need to take on in my writing.
    If you can’t stop thinking about it, then write it, see how it plays out. In fact, because you know that this could be a sensitive area, because you are thinking about all the parties involved it probably means you are the right person to write the book.

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:51 am #

      Thanks for pointing out that my consideration of all parties involved probably means I’m the right person to write this thing. “Room for my potential growth” – yes. Not only as a writer, but as a person. I appreciate your thoughtful words of encouragement, J.C.!

  3. Lília V Sunday / 1 November 09 at 4:42 pm #

    If it’s getting into you, if you can’t stop thinking about it, write about it instead. There’s no such thing as the right thing to write, just your feelings and the way you look at things.

    Go for it!

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:38 am #

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s so freeing to remember I don’t have to write anything – I should just write and not worry. It’s been great so far. Thanks!

  4. islesam Sunday / 1 November 09 at 6:45 pm #

    Sometimes you need to meet challenges head on. Hence, my sticking with my present novel instead of throwing it to the wolves. We’re still kind of battling one another, but it’s getting there.

    Personally, I can’t deal with anything related to young children & death. My story centers around a man who is sent to Hell for his sole belief in Karma & tries to get out… basically. Barebones, right? I asked the nano forums to provide me with a list of sins “they” would commit if they ended up in Hell because I am not evil enough to think of enough for my cast of characters. Anything with the death of babies or small children was immediately eliminated on the list. My story is satire & I still couldn’t do it. I have a two year old & anything of that nature absolutely kills me.

    However, that is just my personal weakness. Just about anything else, I can take on. If this doesn’t fall into your “will have nightmares & cry ceaselessly while craddling my young daughter”esque type of thing, GO FOR IT. pushing your comfort zone is one thing. destroying it is another. & good luck today 🙂

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:56 am #

      I totally thought of you as I was going through this dilemma. This book that I’m now working on is one that I would pick up to read in a heartbeat, but I never pictured myself as brave enough to write something like it. Like the topic you’re tackling, I think people are a bit surprised to hear that I am writing about these subjects. In my jazz group rehearsal on Monday, my fellow alto asked what I’m writing about, and I told her. She looked at me like I was nuts, and said, “Wow…um, that’s…heavy?” She must have been expecting a romantic comedy or something. 😉

      ANYWAY. Thanks for all your advice on comfort zones, and encouraging me to consider the difference between pushing mine and destroying it. That was a very good distinction I had not yet considered. 🙂

  5. moderndaystoryteller Monday / 2 November 09 at 6:41 am #

    Hi there, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my post about Day 1 Nano. Might be a little late here but hope you went for it. Sounds like a fascinating premise and obviously one that caught your attention. What I usually do when dealing with something this big, is to explore character. I find if I know my characters well enough, they will usually help me find the story. Hope that helps.

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:37 am #

      You’re welcome! I’ve been back a couple of times since, but this is the first time I’ve gotten the time to respond to comments in a while. Thanks for your encouragement – you’re totally right, exploration of character is helping immensely!

      I really like the way you’re doing your daily recaps! Best of luck on NaNo!

      Noticed your name doesn’t link to your website, so for anyone who wants to check you out, I’m gonna post a link to follow:

  6. moderndaystoryteller Monday / 2 November 09 at 6:41 am #

    Oh, and best of luck!

  7. Laura Best Monday / 2 November 09 at 7:12 am #

    It sounds to me as though you know you need to write this story but a part of you is fearful of what it will entail.Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet rather than spend your time wondering what would have happened it you had..

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:40 am #

      This is a great analogy, and the more I write the story the more I’m taking the plunge. There was a point in it where I had to say, “Okay. I can go this way, that way, or another way – this is my chance to decide.” So I jumped in and didn’t look down before I did it.

  8. joyofdawn Monday / 2 November 09 at 9:10 am #

    It is on your mind so the sooner you write it the better, would be my guess. Most ideas I get I just write down and set back in a folder for later. Yesterday I just started one of my past ideas in a completely different way. Sometimes as I write I find that multiple past ideas will work out in one story.
    So in your case what I would have done is write out the idea as fast as I could and leave it on the top of my desk. When I come back maybe I’ll work on it or maybe I have a new idea. Eventually I will probably see it show up in my stories.
    Of course I don’t always get all my ideas on paper, there are simply too many. However the ones that keep a constant presences in my mind usually find a place on paper. Have fun and I hope something works out for you!

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:42 am #

      This was particularly helpful to me because I was thinking, “Well, I know I want to write the story someday…just maybe not now.” You’re right, though, it was fresh on my mind, so it makes total sense to go with it while I’m thinking so much about it.

      Hey, I’m proud of you for NaNo-ing! You’re doing really well, keep up the great work!

  9. Christi Craig Monday / 2 November 09 at 9:26 am #

    I’m just reading your post, and I don’t know if you decided to go with this idea or not. But, I’m voting for Yes, do it. We often never figure out why things happen in the moments they happen. Like Laura says, don’t question it too much. Just write it for now. Maybe the story will evolve into something you don’t expect, and your experience was just the catalyst to get it going.

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:43 am #

      Thanks for your vote – it wasn’t too late! I decided to go with it, and it is absolutely evolving into something a little different (and much better) than I expected. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave this comment!

  10. Linda Monday / 2 November 09 at 10:16 am #

    I agree with those who say write it … and since it’s day 2 of NaNo, maybe you already have. It doesn’t sound as if you were going to take the issue lightly, so I wouldn’t think witnessing this was a warning NOT to write the book. I would look at it as confirmation.

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 6 November 09 at 8:47 am #

      You’re right – I had no intention of approaching the subject lightly. If anything, I was already a little worried it would be too heavy, and what I saw reinforced that in a bigger way than expected. That said, I’m finding a way to balance out the heaviness with the voice I’m using, and a couple of light characters to relieve things so it’s not just a ton of coal heaped on me (or the reader). Thanks for your advice, it was the straw that broke me into pursuing this book for NaNo! 🙂


  1. I Need to Write Like Me. « Owl and Sparrow - Thursday / 12 November 09

    […] my November, sacrificing thirty days of work on my beloved work-in-progress.  Then, I had doubts and fears concerning the subject matter itself.  After that, I took the plunge and jumped into the ice-cold ocean of NaNo […]

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