This Saturday! November 1st! The writing begins! Get hype!
Actually, I’m definitely going to be what veteran Nano’ers like to call a “Nano Rebel” this year, because I’m not going to be writing a new story, nor will I be starting anything from scratch. And I won’t be focusing on just one story, either.
Writing a brand-new, conceived-of-for-Nano story, and starting it for the first time with no prior words written for it ON November 1st, is basically what you’re “supposed to do” for Nano. And for someone participating for the first time, I definitely agree that it’s the best way to go. It lets you really experience the event with all the splendor and madness it’s meant to have. Plus, if you’re new to Nano, then the whole idea behind it – of setting aside editing and doubts and sometimes even logic and just writing, don’t worry if it sucks or it makes no sense JUST KEEP WRITING!… that entire concept is probably somewhat foreign to you if you’ve never done Nano before. And I think it’d be easier for someone new to the whole thing to go with the “traditional” method, rather than do what I’m doing.
THAT SAID… I’m hardly new to this. My first Nano was in 2008, and I have participated every year since. The only years in which I didn’t win were 2009 and 2013. So I’d have to say that I have already shown myself that yes, I am capable of putting together a new concept for a novel and cranking out 50,000 words of narrative based on it in 30 days. Not that doing so again would be bad, but it’s not what I NEED to be doing at this stage.
Because coming up with new ideas, drawing out a bunch of notes, fleshing out the world and setting, and then diving in with some narrative to get it going… that’s not where I have trouble. That’s what I’m GOOD at. On FimFiction, my little bio thing says that I’m a “part-time writer, full time idea generator.” Partly I just was being silly, but it’s kind of true. Creating and fleshing out a new idea – and even getting the story for it off the ground, at least a bit – is where I excel. That and world building are easily my main strengths as a creator.
My biggest weakness, conversely, is follow-through. Sticking with the story after it’s off the ground, and continuing to make progress with it. Outside of two short pieces of fanfic – one for Star Trek (though with entirely original characters, just set in the Trek ‘verse) and one for Friendship is Magic – I have not one fully 100% complete story. Not one. But LOTS of good ideas, including several that I have used to write part of a story.
On top of that, as you know if you’ve read certain previous entries in my blog, my summer was… rather full. Outside of a little bit of new Valocea mapping in August and September, I’ve found my creative endeavors completely derailed, like a Valocean high-speed train that jumped its tracks… except not really because that is extremely unlikely actually. The point is, I haven’t written or world-built or really done much of anything for any of my projects in ages. Because of this, I’ve really been looking forward to Nano this year. I’m hoping it will serve as a jumping off point for me to get back on track when it comes to my writing.
With all that in mind, this year I will have several (6 in total at the moment… it’s possible some other stories that have been on the back burner might get rotated in during November, but I’m going to try not too get TOO unfocused or I won’t make notable progress in anything) preexisting ideas arrayed in front of me, with my Nano goal being to write a total of 50,000 words on ANY of them. 50k on one of them? 25k split between two? Exactly eight-thousand three-hundred and thirty-three (guess what that times 6 is) on each? Sure! Fine! I don’t care how the balance between the stories ends up, as long as I, at the end of November, have written 50k or more words for them. Progress. And that elusive follow-through that I have so much trouble with.
So this should be an interesting month! In no particular order, the six stories ARE:
-“Lessons” and “Moments of Transition”, which are both Friendship is Magic fanfics (don’t judge me). Pre-November 2014 word counts: 23,501 and 14,000.
-SA (no that’s not a real title, explanation at the end of this paragraph): new parts for a modern slice-of-life story centered on the lives and relationships of two characters (the story so far was actually written for my first Nano in ’08, and took place in the same year). Pre-November 2014 word-count: 55,496. Though, any progress on this story may not simply follow directly on from where the 2008 Nano story stopped. Might jump ahead a a bit later in their lives and go from there. Sort of a sequel, in a way, albeit a sequel to a story that was never really completed in the first place! Despite the fact that I’ve made no actual progress in writing anything more for this since early 2009, Sam and Ashlyn (the two women who are the main characters) have continued to be in my head ever since. Sometimes I’ll just stop and think, what are their lives like now? Recently I’ve had a flood of new ideas that could actually translate to plot, so I might be able to finally write more for them. I’ve never been able to come up with a title for this story, so I use the first initials of the two main characters to form an abbreviation to refer to it, thus, until I finally name it properly, I just call this SA.
-“Grid Runner” (I’m still not entirely sure about that title though), a story set several hundred years hence in a post-apocalyptic and then partially rebuilt Earth, centered on the experiences of generally unwilling bio-engineered superhuman government agents, and how their existence irrevocably changes the world around them. Pre-November 2014 word count: 11,724.
-“Traces”, a steampunk-ish/gaslamp fantasy story set in an alternate history version of Valocea (an alternate history of a fictional country that is itself basically an alternate universe… I think it’s time to break this out again) about someone who hunts the more dangerous variants of the titular traces, which are beings of pure magic created as a by-product of humans using magic, and what happens when said hunter encounters a trace that’s… different… Pre-November 2014 word count: 0! So I guess I sort of would be starting the narrative from scratch with this one, but I’ve had the idea for a few years and have a ton of notes. So it’s still not a brand-new idea.
-“Crafters”, a fantasy story set in a not-actually-Earth-at-all world that is, quite literally, held together by a unique magic energy generated by the creative endeavors of humans possessed of a particular talent and specialized training. One Crafter might be a painter, another a writer, another a carpenter, etc. If they possess the above-mentioned talent and training, they can create and shape this energy as they work their craft, which maintains the seams holding the world together, and keeps it separated from what lies beyond. Pre-November 2014 word count: 50,075 (written for Nano in 2012).
So! This year, I am not actually doing “National Novel Writing Month”. Instead, I am doing what I have dubbed “National Novel Continuing Month.” I’ll be tracking my progress here in daily posts detailing how much wordage is being added to which stories, for anyone who wants to follow along with the madness.
In which case, I guess I should say, NaNoCoMo ahoy!