The Answer? Follow The Money

For many writers, Thursday rang in NaNoWriMo and most of my writing folks are happily posting their great word counts for the day and such things. Me? No NaNoWriMo yet again. It think it’s a great idea, for other folks. For me, the idea simply freaks me out. I often crank out 1500-3500 words a day so it isn’t the word count that troubles me. It’s the need to make that word count that leaves me all flustered and flailing in the corner.

But I admit I thought about it this year. I’m starting a new novel and thought, “hey, why not?” And that thought rattled around in my head long enough and loud enough for me to open the NaNo website and actually think about signing up. Until I remembered one wee little thing:

I have a plot problem with my new novel.

That sound? Was the crumbling of my dream of writing this novel in any semblance of speed. Because before anything good can be built, it must be planned out enough to set it up for success. And success for a book, especially a thriller like what I’ve been planning, needs a good plan. Screeching halt while I work out the logic of my premise.

Because my next novel is a thriller, and because I want to avoid any “dystopian” feel to it, I need to reevaluate. So last night I asked Mister Soandso to brainstorm with me for a bit. It didn’t take me long to say the most basic truth of so many things: let’s just follow the money.

And isn’t that the truth? Money, the want of it or the excess of it, is really the basis of so many decisions in life.

Take the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for example. As relief efforts are underway, just follow the money. Is Haiti seeing a big push of humanitarian dollars and efforts? Nope. But Manhattan is.

It may not be awesome or inspiring or leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling, but it makes sense from a money sense that efforts are being made to get Manhattan back on its feet. It makes sense that Mayor Bloomberg is planning on holding the New York Marathon as planned. It makes sense that FEMA is in New Jersey.

It’s all about the money.

If you want the economy of the US to continue to strengthen, get the economic heartbeat of the US running again like usual. Each one of those traders working in the Financial district commutes to work, eats lunch, has his/her dry cleaning done, gets a haircut, buys drinks out with friends on Friday night. That means taxis are driving, restaurants are making lunch specials, dry cleaners are pressing pants, salons are cutting hair, and bartenders and servers are tucking away their tips.

If you want the shipping industry of the US to rebound, get New Jersey focused on its docks and moving those containers from ships to trains.

If you want scads of tourists staying in town and sleeping in $400 a night beds, buying souvenir tee shirts, shelling out bucks for coffee and pasta, hold the NY marathon.

Of course, it means that the people of Staten Island who are sorting through their lives scattered about swamped fields will continue to suffer. In the dark and without the means to keep their kids from getting sick.

It’s always about the money. If you want to find out what drives either a novel’s plot or a nation’s budget, just follow the money.