It’s coming up to November, and that means NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. The goal: to write 50,000 word novel in 30 days.
I did it in 2008, and completed the challenge. That novel became Minding Tomorrow. In 2009 I had another go at NaNoWriMo, and wrote one of the story of Combat, the followup novel to Minding Tomorrow. I didn’t actually write 50,000 words in November, because I completed the story sooner than expected. Anyway, NaNoWriMo did its job, and by the end December 19th I had a 50,333 word novel.
What about this year?
Well, I have quite a few choices. I’ll break down my current writing projects and story ideas. All titles are working titles only.
Arc of Life: a large scale fantasy novel. I wrote a quarter of this back in June, but life kinda got in the way in July, August and September.
NaNoWriMo suitability: I think the point is to start at the beginning of a novel, rather than trying to write 50,000 words of an ongoing project. I think I’ll save this one and work on it later.
Human Danger: a retelling of a classic science fiction story from the point of view of the alien. I wrote 24,000 words of this story back in 2009, before working out a way better ending than I had when I started it. That meant I would have to write it again from the start though, and I didn’t feel like doing it right away.
NaNoWriMo suitability: Good. I’d be able to go straight into writing it, as I’ve got the entire thing planned. However, as I have to keep continuity with the original story, individual scenes are a real pain to write. I’d have to do a bit more planning during October to be read.
Monster Story: A human colony sets themselves up on a planet, and discovers there are more dangerous animals out there than they first thought.
I wrote this as a novella (35,000 words), but was unhappy with it. So I wrote extensive notes to see how to fix it. As it happens, I wrote the notes in the form of a meeting between three characters, and enjoyed it so much I released it as The Monster Story Conference. Strangely, the notes ran to just under 35,000 words too, though it only took me five days from start to end.
I want to write the final version of this story. It’ll be very easy, as I have two versions already, and I’ve thought about it a lot. I will be starting from scratch, but it feels a bit strange considering I’ve already written 70,000 words on this story already!
NaNoWriMo suitability: Good, but the final story won’t be 50,000 words long.
The Great Escape: A mystery set in a prisoner of war camp. A group is trying to tunnel to freedom, and our hero joins the effort. But not everything is how it seems.
The overall structure and concept of Monster Story came to me, in almost a complete form, in a dream. Maybe it is why I find the story so compelling. On Friday afternoon, during a nap, I dreamed the entire story and concept of The Great Escape. I can’t get it out of my head!
NaNoWriMo suitability: Good, but I think I need to let this one stew in my brain for a while longer, to get a better handle on the characters and scenes. They made perfect sense in my dream, but I know if I tried to write it so soon it’ll be very weak.
Minding Tomorrow part 3: Combat is not a direct followup to Minding Tomorrow, but it is set in the same future, with characters and events in common. Either can be read first. MT3 will be a followup to both novels, and feature the characters of both coming together to solve ever bigger problems.
I’ve had the events of this story banging about in my head for years, since way before I ever wrote Minding Tomorrow. I think I’m ready to finally write it.
NaNoWriMo suitability: Very good. I wrote the previous two novels during November, so why not this one? However, I don’t want to only put out stories set in the world of Minding Tomorrow. I feel I have a lot more than that to offer as a writer!
MT4/Monster Story Prequel: Yeah, I’ve always imagined Minding Tomorrow and the Monster Story happen in the same future timeline. Even though they are completely different stories, both thematically and stylistically, it might be fun to write the story that links the two.
Put it this way, the events at the end of MT3 are the reasons why the colonists go to Lanamay with the technology they have. Except for the Conveyor Drive, everything is set. MT4 will be about the invention of the Conveyor Drive.
NaNoWriMo suitability: Not good. I need to write MT3 first. Or Monster Story first. Certainly not this one.
The Pseudonomicon: I wrote down the title, but have never come up with a story to go with it.
NaNoWriMo suitability: None.
Train Mystery: Murder on the Orient Express meets Einstein’s thought experiments about relativity, the one with the beam of light bouncing off mirrors on a moving train.
I just looked at my notes on this story idea, and they need a LOT of work.
NaNoWriMo suitability: Not this year! Also, the story would probably be too short.
Cruise: The story of a cruise ship that’s in a port when a revolution and military coup take place in the city at the same time. Various member of the service staff are taken prisoner ashore, and yet the captain is ordered to sail away, out of trouble. The prisoners ashore start getting killed, so the service staff on board mutiny, take over the ship, and sail back again to save their colleagues. Etc. Etc.
Unlike all the above stories, there are no science fiction or fantasy elements to this story at all. Instead I’d draw on all my knowledge of working on cruise ships.
NaNoWriMo suitability: Good, but I don’t feel as passionate about this story compared to the others.
Looking at the above list, it comes down to Human Danger, MT3 or Monster Story. I have two weeks to decide. Meanwhile I do research and prepare notes for all three.
Any thoughts on which you think I should write?