NaNoWriMo planning

Happy Science has a rather less optimistic view of ghosts. (Here from the anime The Rebirth of Buddha.) Don’t worry though, there are other spirits who are more helpful.

NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, is an open project to write 50 000 words of continuous fiction during the month of November. I have participated for about a decade by now, and even take my vacation in November each year. So also this year.

Today was the last workday before my “writecation”, where I take 5 weeks vacation from work (all the weeks that include November, basically). My tentative plan is to study Go, re-watch the anime Hikaru no Go and perhaps¬†The Laws of Eternity, and write tens of thousands of words of fiction.


Yes, I intend to write 50 000 words of fiction about Go and related topics. For the unnaturally curious, here is my rough outline of the story:

The main character is a high school freshman who I for some reason want to call Eric. He is an “otaku”, obsessed with Japanese entertainment: Manga, anime, Jpop, and games. He was introduced to manga and anime by his older sister, but he is more into it than she. On the other hand, she is doing outrageous that he is not: She is writing gay fan fiction about straight character. This bizarre hobby of hers makes him rather nervous whenever she comes up with another scheme to give him a social life. (His sister is actually concerned about him, because he has no friends and tend to hole up with his anime and games all day.)

One day his sister introduces him to the anime Hikaru no Go, about a 6th grade boy who finds an old Go board which is haunted. The spirit in the board attaches itself to him and begins to badger him to play Go, because it is the ghost of a Go player from 1000 years ago who cannot find peace until he has reached “the Hand of God”, the perfect play. As long as the ghost is telling him how to play, he plays like a master, and becomes the center of attention from serious Go players. This causes him to try hard to learn the game himself, and a lot of adventures happen during the 75 episode of the anime.

The anime Hikaru no Go has inspired thousands if not millions of young people all over the world to learn to play Go. But it has only inspired one boy to try to find his own Go-playing ghost. This is his story. As you may guess, it is meant to be a bit on the humorous side.

Eric’s logic is that there since Go is popular among old men in Japan, there is bound to be thousands of ghosts who want to return to play more Go. All he needs is to attract one of them. They don’t need to be the best, as long as they are better than most people in Scandinavia, his success is assured.

First he needs to learn the basics of Go and the various Japanese phrases used in the game. (I can use this to pad the book if I run out of story.)  He also needs to expand his Japanese vocabulary, since it is unlikely that old Japanese ghosts speak English. (He actually lives in Norway, but for simplicity, all Norwegians speak English in his world.) Then he needs to find out how to get in contact with Japanese ghosts.

As luck (or plot) would have it, the solution to all his problems is found at the local Go club, in the form of a girl close to his own age, who happens to be half Japanese, daughter of a Norwegian sea captain and his Japanese wife. Not only does she play Go and speak Japanese, she is also a member of the Japanese religion Happy Science, which has an extensive lore about the afterlife. Together, they try to find out what happens to Go players who die.

So there you have it. Go, anime and Happy Science. “Write about what you know, not about yourself.” It shouldn’t be hard to write 50 000 words about these things – it is possible that I have already done so in my journal… ^_^;