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Learning Experiences and NaNoWriMo

Posted Nov 01 2009 12:00am
I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year in order to get a very rough first draft of a post-apocalyptic novel that has been brewing in my head for several years. (Here's my profile.) I am doing pretty poorly so far, with only 5,719 words so far, but I am having fun writing, getting my thoughts down on paper without worrying about an editor. My novel is young adult, as is my protagonist, a 16-year-old junior in high school. I decided pretty early on that she would be hearing impaired, in the same way I am. All writing guides tell you to write what you know, and my particular hearing impairment is something I know very intimately. Looking back, I don't think I've ever read a young adult novel with a protagonist with a disability - I've read a few where the main character is autistic, but nothing physical, so I thought it might be interesting to get into that world.

In a post-apocalyptic world, hearing aid batteries would become scarce, and of course maintenance would be almost impossible to do beyond the very basic. While I'm sure a very dedicated person could scrounge batteries, and find various implements to help her repair her aids, in a world such as this food and survival come first. She would probably lose her aids within the first year or so, I would think, later if she finds a stash of batteries or earlier if the hearing aids are damaged somehow. (I don't yet know exactly what will happen, which is part of the fun of NaNoWriMo!)

So, to help me prepare, I want to go out and experience the world as she would experience it without her aids. Of course her world will be different. Depending on the scenarios I set up for what created the apocalypse, there would be no electricity, very few people, no cars... but to get an idea of it I need to take out my aids and go take a walk around without them.

I've never done this before, so I'm a little nervous.

I never go anywhere without my aids; the most I've done is go without my right aid when it's acting up, or go in the pool. I don't think I've ever been to a shopping mall, a grocery store, or anywhere else without at least one of my aids. So, this is going to be pretty strange, and weird, and maybe scary. I'll go with somebody so that I don't get run over in the parking lot or anything like that. But I think doing it is going to be a great learning experience. I will be reporting back. Hopefully I can do this before December so I can incorporate my feelings into my novel.
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