Prepping for NaNoWriMo

I’m going to do Nano this year, squiders.

(NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and this is its 20th anniversary, which is insane. My first one was 2003, the fifth year it existed, and there were only about 3000 of us. Now there’s hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Madness!)

I’m really, truly going to do it. I’m going to sign up, I’m going to maybe go to write-ins, and hopefully I am going to get my 50K and win.

I haven’t done so since 2014.

I did Nano every year 2003-2011, but then the small, mobile ones arrived, and it’s been near impossible to get the focus/time necessary to do so since then.

The years I didn’t do it, I always tried some sort of unofficial challenge, which has traditionally failed miserably. There’s something about the energy and community that surrounds Nano that makes it infinitely more doable than trying on your own.

But I’m going to do it. And I’m excited for it.

Of course, the first step is to pick a story. I’m behind on that–one of my writing groups is already doing planning parties for their stories–but it IS September, and this is traditionally the month I pick what I’m writing and then proceed to do nothing until Nov 1 hits.

In 2014 I made a long list of various novel ideas and then slowly whittled them down until I was left with the Space Dinosaur story. Most of those other stories are still on the table.

Yesterday I started going through my idea file, which quickly became unwieldy, because there are a TON of ideas in there and a lot of them looked pretty dang good, and the thought of adding more ideas onto the other list (which has 16 perfectly good ideas on it anyway) was terrifying, so I gave that up.

It’s all moot, really. I feel like I should be making an informed decision, looking at my options and logically deciding which story to write, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve already made up my mind.

The looking at ideas and lists is all for show.

I knew before I started looking at lists and ideas that I wanted to work on a story project related to a story I’ve already written. I have a couple plotted out for Shards, sequels or prequels, and those were very tempting, because I’ve been writing short pieces in the Shards universe lately for practice. I’ve got some other sequels as well, but the first books in those still need work before they see the world, so it’s maybe not the best to work on succeeding books that might never see the day.

But even that list is just for show.

You guys know about my high fantasy trilogy that I’ve been working on forever. About eight years ago, I had an idea for a “prequel”–but not a true prequel. A story set in the same world, about 700 years earlier than the trilogy. Almost five years ago I sat down and wrote the first chapter. And now, damnit, I’m going to write the freaking book.

I’ve already done a lot of work on it, actually. Most of it will take place on a sailing ship, so I did a lot of research on types of sailing vessels (how big, what era, whether or not they’d be able to make it across an ocean the size of the Pacific, how many crew, how much they could hold, etc.) and drew several pictures of rigging and whatnot, because I remember, when Hidden Worlds came out, a family member noting the vagueness of sailing terminology in the section that took place on a ship.

(Which is fine in context, Margery, the MC, knows nothing about sailing terminology. But for this story, where the sailing portion is much more substantial and the characters–though not the viewpoint character, at least at the beginning–much more experienced, I need to know my stuff.)

I will need to do some better plotting and work on my character arcs, but hey! We’ve got time.

I’m trying something new here as well, as I typically do with Nano stories, and that’s a non-protagonist narrator. That’s always been the plan, since I first conceived the story. Think what’s-his-face in Wuthering Heights, or Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories. They’re there, they’re telling the story, but they’re not driving the story.

Could be a disaster, but we’re going for it anyway.

I re-read that first chapter this morning, and I am excited. It’ll be fun to explore a different section of the world I’ve spent so much time in, I’m already super in love with the main characters, and it will be interesting to try something new and see how this story unfolds.

(I may need to do some conlanging before we get going, though, and that is not my strongest skill. Oh well.)

Got other non-protagonist narrator stories I should look at, squiders? (Especially anything more recently than 100 years ago.) Doing Nano yourself? Anything else interesting going on?

6 responses to this post.

  1. I feel like parts of War of the Worlds would fit that idea of the non-protagonist narrator, although it’s been a while since I’ve read it. I recall the main character for the most part being witness to what’s happening during the invasion but not actively doing much.

    Reply

  2. And good luck with NaNo!

    Reply

  3. I’m doing Nano this year too! I’ve only attempted once and failed miserably and blamed it on school and work. I work a lot more now but I don’t have school as an excuse so I’m determined to get to 50k! I’m also working on a high fantasy trilogy; this is my first crack at writing fantasy so I’m spending September and October researching and world building and I’m so excited!

    Reply

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