Well, we’re at that time of year again where I obsess over word counts and plots and wonder if my characters are full enough or if everything I’ve done is just one giant derivative cliche with vampires and werewolves and an old guy who sacrifices himself to save the hero and Orks and Magik that are totally my own ideas because I SPELL THEM WITH A K.
It’s NaNoWriMo, and I’ve got a book to write.
I’ve been letting it ferment in my head for a while now, and, much like my last novel, I’ve decided that NaNo is a perfect time to start it. Well, perfect except for a couple of minor life changes that make November particularly difficult. Little things like expecting a baby, moving across the country, completely changing jobs and lifestyles, traveling back across the country for Thanksgiving. Oh, and there’s a small possibility that I could be notified to travel across the world for 2-3 weeks with less than 72 hours notice. You know, just pesky things. And now there’s 90 MPH winds outside my windows threatening to cave in the roof, blow a small dog into the neighbor’s yard, and bring the nearby Potomac river over for evening tea. Sandy is a bitch.
So what am I going to do about it, now that I have almost no chance of success?
This year, instead of going for the customary 50,000 words in 30 days, I’m going to try for 100,000 words. Last year I clocked in at just over 90,000, so I think this is well within the realm of the possible. At least, possible if I can put on my Powerizers and jump over all the life obstacles in the way.
This year’s novel is different because, well, it’s big. Really big. Not Patrick Rothfuss big, but Wheel of Time big. You see, it was supposed to be a trilogy. Three books, that’s it. I like threes. Prime number. It’s the charm, provided you’ve already done something twice. Anyway, then I tried to explain the trilogy to my wife in the car. It took about a half hour just to get through the basic idea of it, and when I was done and said it would be a trilogy, she laughed at me. She said “This sounds like a series.”
One of the best and worst qualities about my wife is that she has a propensity for correctness (notice that I never said she was “right.” I have my pride.) As I took a step back and examined the scope of my book – hell, just the world I was trying to create and the mechanisms that made it move – I realized that I really do have something larger on my hands. I’m thinking I can fit it comfortably into a five book series, but any shorter than that and I risk making it a glossed-over plot synopsis. I have something like eighteen gods that encompass many dimensions of reality, and just as many mortals that are moving the plot forward. It’s complicated. It’s EPIC. It is not, unfortunately, a trilogy. But it must be written!
You might notice that I’m rambling a little. First, back off. This is my blog, not yours, and I can do whatever the hell I want. Second, you’re right, but you can’t blame me. I have well over 10,000 words of outline information on this novel, 7,000 of which is a detailed chapter by chapter outline of the first 21 chapters. Frankly, I’m sick of outlining and I want to get to the book. But I can’t, because NaNo doesn’t start for another THREE WHOLE DAYS. And do you know what happens if you start NaNoWriMo too soon? THE NANORHINO GET’S YOU.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not overly excited to have this guy putting his snout in places it doesn’t belong. So I’m exploring the extent of my self-constraint by resisting the urge to start early. When Mary Robinette Kowal asked me to salvage a draft of her novel after she almost lost it in a computer crash, I also resisted the urge to add the word “poop” to random places in the manuscript. I think I can handle three days.
Scrivener doesn’t know what’s about to hit it. I’ll see you in three days.
Actually, no I won’t. I’ll be busy writing. What will I be writing? Here’s the flaming logo again, in case you’ve forgotten.