Of all the things I should be worried about right now, my addled brain is focused on something that’s nearly a month away. The National Novel Writing Month.
I shouldn’t worry about it. In fact, I shouldn’t even participate this year. It’s just one more plate to try to spin with all the others. I don’t think I can do it.
But then, that’s kind of the point. Lots of people don’t think they can write 50,000 words in a month. You just have to put your butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard, and do your best. And maybe you’ll surprise yourself.
This year would be my fourth attempt. I’ve only succeeded once, and that was when I started The Repossessed Ghost.
The first year, I sort of cheated. You’re supposed to start a brand new novel, but I chose to work on A Clean Slate, which already had about 1,100 words. I chose poorly, regardless. A Clean Slate is about a group of adventurers that are reanimated from stone, and have no memory of how they were petrified in the first place. They’re sent on a journey to save the kingdom, and along the way, discover that they might not be the good guys. It’s a bit of Bourne Identity plus The Dirty Dozen in a low fantasy setting. It’s a complicated story, and I was a fool to think I could rush it out in 30 days. I only managed about 12,000 words or so.
The next year, I succeeded with The Repossessed Ghost, though I didn’t know that was the title at the time. Heck, the title still might change. Nothing is set in stone with that story. Inspired by The Dresden Files, and with a main character I already knew from playing him in a roleplaying game, I managed to get 50,000 words written with a few hours to spare. In fact, I wrote around 25,000 words in just the last three days. It was insane. And I’m still working on that story, polishing and revising. I think it might actually be publishable.
Last year, I tried a different story. It’s one I’d thought about writing for about 15 years. Again, I focused on a main character that I’d played in a game. The game was a MUSH, so really, I’d written thousands and thousands of words using this character. I thought that would give me an advantage. But it wasn’t enough.
The problem last year was the world building. Oh heavens. I built the culture, the religion, the naming patterns that they use, from birth to adulthood. I mapped out the main character’s family tree. I came up with details for their social hierarchy. And somewhere in the midst of all that world building, I lost track of the story. I’m not sure how many words I managed to write last year. Under 20,000 I think. A pitiful showing.
I don’t know what I’m going to write this year. I have a couple of novel ideas, but I’m not sure they’re things I want to attempt under the pressure of NaNoWriMo. And with everything else going on in my life, it’s hard to stop and focus on something new.
Editing The Repossessed Ghost is comparatively easy.
I should come up with something simple. Maybe sketch out a basic plot outline. Then discover the characters on November 1st when I try to write them. Maybe I should try science fiction instead of fantasy? Maybe I should try to write a story in Arthur Kane’s world? Arthur Kane is the main character of the first novel I completed, which will never see the light of day for how terrible it is. But maybe I could write in that setting. I wouldn’t have to do a bunch of world building, then, so I’d avoid that trap.
I don’t know. And I don’t know how I’m going to find the time.
We’ll just have to see. If I can keep up with Blogtober, maybe I’ll be able to keep up with NaNoWriMo.