It’s that time again. National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo to those in the know. This is the 10th year it’s existed, and they’re celebrating with an ugly t-shirt. This is the 7th year I’ve participated. I’d have started sooner, but no one told me. Actually, I heard about it too late to play in 2001, but ran a local one of my own in the spring of 2002, so this is sortof my eighth go. I’ve also attempted to write novels in 30 days or less on several other occasions since 2002, so it’s more of baker’s dozen times I’ve faced down this challenge.
Officially, for attempts in Novembers, I’ve only “won” three times. 2002, 2003, and 2004. That’s Lost and Not Found, Dragons’ Truth, and UTFBF, Book 1, respectively. 2005 was a big fail, 2006 was practically a mental breakdown, and 2007 was a sort of emotional cleansing that ended in my getting married on December 1st. So this year (and from now on) the TGIO party is also my wedding anniversary. (I’ll have to remember not to confuse the sentiment of “Thank Goodness It’s Over” with thoughts about my marriage, though – it should be relief/joy that one thing is ending coupled with relief/joy that that other is continuing.)
As I believe I’ve stated over and over again in various places (was one of them this place?), for NaNoWriMo this year I’m writing a collection of short stories instead of a novel. At least, that’s the idea. That was, incidentally, the idea for 2005 and 2006 as well – and those didn’t turn out well. (Though I do have the several short stories I’d managed to complete those years on my HDD somewhere, just waiting for something to do.) The stories are all supposed to tie in to and expand upon the fiction and world of the novel I wrote this year, which I’m currently calling Forget What You Can’t Remember, which I can then sell as a companion book to the novel -expect both to be available in December- and which I’m thinking of calling More Lost Memories. On one hand, doing short stories makes things easier in a few ways: If I get stuck somewhere I can just switch to a different story. I can podcast the individual stories as they get finished without worrying that something I write later will contradict something already live. (The first story from More Lost Memories to hit the podcast is available now.) If one story or one set of characters runs out of steam before 50k words it’s no problem, because I can just start another one. Yay! On the other hand, I’ve never succeeded in writing a book-length collection of short stories. This will be the second attempt this year, and the sixth attempt in four years.
The collection of time-related short stories I was working on is close to okay, but it needs a good edit, and at least a couple more stories before it’s the size and scope I want from it. Problem is, I don’t currently have more ideas for time-related short stories. Hopefully I’ll come up with some in 2009. You can see four of the stories in their current state at modernevil.com/inProgress, and give me paragraph-level feedback on the text (I’m also using CommentPress over there) or general feedback on your impressions of the stories. The short story collection I started for NaNo’05 is less than 20% complete, on a story-level. I don’t know how long it is. I tried to throw one together last year, but it was a mess. I have one mapped out, outlined, characters developed, and barely half of one story written yet – that one I’ve been working on since 2003. The short story collection, so far, has eluded me. Hopefully that streak will end, now, and perhaps by this time next year I’ll have two or three such collections in print.
Anyway, so far I’m not doing great on my word count. The daily target, to hit the goal on time, is 1667 words. I’ve been writing between 750 and 1200 words a day, so far. Right now, my word count is only 5240. At midnight (almost 2 hours ago, now), it was supposed to be 8333 or more. The 860+ words in this post are definitely not in my novel’s word count. Neither are the words I’ve been posting in the NaNoWriMo regional forums. But I’m pretty sure they’re worthwhile. Just as I’m pretty sure podcasting my book-in-progress is worthwhile. And helping my brother try to get his car working is worthwhile. And the break I took to play the Mirror’s Edge demo, a little while ago, was pretty cool. There was that one jump that took me thirty or forty tries, but otherwise it was a lot of fun. Depending on how tomorrow goes, maybe between editing Friday’s Lost and Not Found podcast and helping my brother with his car I can get some writing in before the write-in at the library tomorrow night. Maybe I can catch up to where I’m supposed to be.
If all else fails, in a couple of weeks I’ll start a new novel -a proper novel- and get it written by the end of the month, anyway. Actually try to do NaNoWriMo right for a change.