November is coming and along with it will be the lower temperatures that necessitate wearing jeans to school as opposed to the shorts that I so frequently wear.
However, there is something that comes around every year that I have attempted several years before and never reached the finish line. That is National Novel Writing Month.
You’ve probably heard of it before, perhaps by its acronym “NaNoWriMo”. The premise is exactly what the title would imply, you write a novel in a month. But that sounds pretty unattainable without a number attached to it. In this case, you’re going to need 50,000 words. Broken down by day, you’ll need 1,667.
This is by no means an insignificant task. I can understand why Suze threw up her hands with a resounding “nope”! In previous years, I tried and stalled out about a few days into making my novel. Yet, I return this year more confident than ever before. So, what happened back then and why did I decide to return?
A Yarn Only Half The Required Length
When it comes to my longest work of writing, it was my first novella that I produced and self-published many, many, many years ago. The last time I checked, the entirety of the book clocked in at 10,000 words. It was a product of very specific circumstances.
At the time I was deeply emotionally involved with the process and had lots of time on my hands. At the end of it, I put it up online. It has since been removed because I checked it and it contained a lot of artifacts of my inexperience. I have since then removed virtually all semicolons from my writing.
But I desperately wanted to recreate that. In fact, I wanted to go one further. I wanted to produce something that I could take to a publisher and put on bookshelves.
I believe my last two attempts were “Cloudrunner” and “Dissolution”, respectively. Cloudrunner was a space opera about a family of planet-destroying plunderers of a substance known as “Anthane”. Dissolution was about cyberbullying.
In both cases, there wasn’t enough material present to really build a novel. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it. I had not consulted anyone at the time because I had no idea what I was doing. But either way, I reached an impasse that I could not conclude. It wasn’t writer’s block, it was the fact that I couldn’t figure out where to go next.
Another successful conclusion was also of a shorter variety, it was a horror screenplay called “Eternal Candle: An Unseen Light.”, split into a series of 15-minute episodes to be written. It never made it past the script stage but it is indeed relevant to this upcoming novel.
It is indeed possible for me to tell a complete story. However, I was going to need to really work at it. For a while, I was playing around with interactive fiction and eventually completed a build for my original incarnation of “One Hundred Days of Mist”.
It dealt with the subject that the current novel will be dealing with: depression. I kept reworking it until I prepared it for a graphic novel script. But my days as an artist are behind me so I had to get an artist. Eventually, I decided to convert back into prose and leave it at that.
There’s plenty of material there and my storytelling ability has improved since then. A year of Dungeonmastering has given me the great ability to make stuff up as I go along, improvisational storytelling at its core. Given that this is largely what I’ll have to do in NaNoWriMo, I’m perfectly comfortable with it.
If anyone wants to look up the project, they can find it here.