As November approaches, writers prepare for National Novel Writing Month, an event meant to get the creative juices flowing and motivate writers to prove to themselves that they have what it takes to finish a draft of a book.
Last year I cranked out a 30,000-word science fiction novel about a space station at the end of time, called The Void Stared Back. It was rough, and there were times when I felt like I was torturing myself, but I pulled through and gained valuable experience. As December finally arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief and told myself I never wanted to do it again. For the next eleven months, I planned on not participating this year. However, once the coolness of fall arrived, I started to feel a strange sensation: that it is writing season. I became excited to write, and ideas started coming in a deluge. As October progressed, I came to realize that I actually do want to participate in NaNoWriMo again.
For my topic, I have several options. I could try for a better version of Void, I could go for the sequel to Raiders, or I could focus on Moebius and finally finish a draft. However, after realizing my skills are not at publishing level yet, I've decided to take a break from novels and practice on a series of fantasy short stories, which I will publish for free online somewhere. So this November, I am committing to write at least 1,000 words every day for this series.
Although I have a skeleton outline for the major themes of the series, I doubt I'll be able to write the 30,000 words in chronological order. Instead, I will work on the many different scenes floating around in my head, and sort through what to toss and what order to put the rest in later.
Committing to NaNo for a second time is more daunting than it was the first time, because I know the pain I will be calling down upon myself. But I also know I can succeed, and that the experience I get will give my skill and diligence a leap forward. With a sweatshirt around my shoulders and a cup of hot coffee on my desk, I will resolutely face up to the challenge.
This blog may not see much action for the next few weeks, since I will be busy writing something else most of the time, and I still have teaching and grading duties to keep on top of. However, I did manage one discussion last year, and I don't have homework problem sets to do this year, so we'll see.