It’s that time of the year again when I start planning for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words (the minimum amount for a work to be considered a novel) inside one month; entrants are permitted to plan their novel beforehand, but cannot commit pen to paper, or finger to keypad, before November 1st. I’ve completed the challenge every year since 2011, and although I haven’t always published my finished work, it’s been an enjoyable ride to write.
Three years ago, I wrote The Bare Necessities; it was the story of two naturists forming a band with a non-naturist, who is reluctantly converted. I developed numerous characters, many of whom I adored. Paige, the fiery naturist and lead singer, was particularly enjoyable to write but all of the characters from a crazy alcoholic to a failing agent, brought a smile to my face.
So much so, that I had completed the whole 70,000 novel by day thirteen, and went and wrote another 50,000 novel by the end of that month too. After a month of editing, The Bare Necessities was released and the free download currently has an average rating of around 3.7-4.0 out of 5 on the various sites that hold it. I’ve been asked to write a sequel and wrote 50,000 words last year for Bare Necessities 2.
On reflection, the storyline wasn’t right. It lacked some of the tight dialogue and interplay of the first book, so I will be attempting this project again. 0-50,000 inside thirty days of vaguely plausible story about the World’s first chart-topping naturist band.
At the time, and when I wrote the original book, I knew of no musical artist who was a naturist or who performed naked. It seemed a bit of anomaly: almost every way of life is represented in music from far right fascism to flying abroad, from fundamentalist Christianity to dating transvestites; it’s all recorded in the Top 40. Apart from naturism.
The paucity of an obvious link made it ripe as a topic for the book. Sure John Lennon and Yoko Ono were often without clothes and I’d later find out that Harry Styles got a reputation (and a fine in Sweden) as he practised naturism backstage, but too often a lack of clothing on a musical celebrity was a stunt designed to amuse, to shock or be some salacious, sexualised display. It was never purely for the enjoyment of living free. There’s even a page dedicated to Nude Male Musicians (not completely SFW) but I couldn’t find a purely naturist music act anywhere.
There had to be the possibility of a teenage – and uncompromising – naturist being a talented singer and refusing to conform to social idealism. And if it was possible, it could exist in a book.
But that aside, I find it somewhat dispiriting that musicians being bare immediately conjures up images of Madonna and Miley Cyrus wearing nothing and purely being uncovered for sexual titillation, or Blink 182 for giggles. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the value of these artists work, but nudity for shock and amusement value has long since disappeared as an original idea. Nudity for fun, though, is almost impossible to find. Perhaps, I’m too cynical.
So, all things going to plan, I will complete my plan for Bare Necessities 2 on October 31st and commence writing at midnight. I’m currently sliding towards a Eurovision plot with Paige set to complete what TaTu were unable to do and appear clothes free to the world. I’ll have the usual dilemma of trying hard to convey the feelings of complete freedom when naked as the wind swirls around you. The sharp blades of grass pricking skin and the shudder of cool water everywhere in the swimming pool.
But it’s something I’ll enjoy doing. Thinking and reminiscing as I write fantastical storylines about crazy characters being natural in an unnatural world. And no doubt, I’ll write much of it naked.
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