Thirty days and nights of literary abandon… or so they say on the webpage.
NaNoWriMo is short of National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write 50,000 words towards a single, newish novel in the 30 days of November. The prize for winning is knowing that you did it, and that is about all. Though really, the goal for me is motivation, and the prize getting anything out, even if it is just the notes for a failed project.
2007 – Year One: Rogue Genre: fantasy. Wordcount: ~12.5k
My intention going in was to write about the (mis)adventures of three rogues: Gibson, Anne, and Neal. The setting was a city called Saramis, which is one of the last holdouts of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign world I thought I was making when I was in junior high school. I had no plot ideas, no grand ideas about Saramis, or really anything other than a little bit of back story for Gibson and details of his attraction to Anne. I also had no real deity system, and had planned on only paying passing homage to a couple of gods, but nothing more than that.
In the end, Gibson was tasked to break into the castle and steal back a golden acorn that held the essence of the god Old Oak. Doing so would break the curse on Saramis that kept it in a perpetual dismal haze. Anne, on the other had, basically got cameos and mentions while Neal became the ‘boss’. Oh, and Gibson got magical shadow powers bestowed him by his goddess Lady Shadow.
2008 – Year Two: Canisters Genre: modern fiction. Wordcount: 15k-20k
This one changed a lot from beginning to end as well. It started with an image I had in my head of someone sliding a couple canisters of film across a desk. I developed that (get it, developed? Nevermind.) into a story with two running plot lines centered around the main character Daniel. One is his romantic relationship with his step-sister, and the other involves a roommate he is pretty sure killed someone.
Daniel and a couple of his roommate run a photography studio out of the lower floor of his house (think prom/senior pictures kinda stuff). One of the roommates says he has some crazy ideas for a images website and runs off to start taking pictures. Everyone is pretty sure his crazy ideas are all pornography related, and kind of ignore him. Then a news report pops up the TV talking about a rape related death, and the roommate starts acting weird. All this is made more awkward by the step-sister showing up.
The story went from having the step-sister’s presence being a tacked on bit to being the bulk of the plot, and the death story coming in second. There was also a lot more details about Daniel’s messed up family life.
While it still needs lots of work, I ended up finishing this story later.
2009 – Year Three: R2 Genre: fantasy. Wordcount: >60k
My first NaNoWriMo win was the sequel to my first years unfinished novel. It was supposed to have Anne finally finding and killing her father while Gibson was running around the countryside of Klon to the south of Saramis trying to discover the reasons behind the disappearance of the druids of Barren Vale. I ended up barely touching Anne’s story and not finishing Gibson’s, but I still cranked out over 60k words.
2010 – Year Four: Saramis: City of Gray or Rogue 1 take 2 Genre: fantasy. Wordcount: ~45k
I felt a little guilty about rehashing my first novel attempt for this. As I was writing R2, I had to change a lot of the back story, but since I hadn’t finished Rogue, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Somewhere between finishing year three and starting year four, a lot changed. I had planned out the major events of three books, all taking place in Saramis, which meant R2 was getting pushed back to be more like R4. Anne’s story from R2 that I never wrote was going to be woven into Gibson’s plot from R1. Gibson’s story was receiving major overhauls as well. In the end, R1 ended up being barely used notes for a much better story.
2011 – Year Five: Saramis: City of Light Genre: fantasy. Wordcount: ~51k
This was a bridge book in the Saramis arc. I knew where I had been (well, for the most part, since I still hadn’t finished the previous book) and how the arc was more or less going to end. I had a lot that needed to happen in the year in between, and it got crammed here. As such, despite having tons of notes (mostly the beginning third of the story) there are huge gaps and parts of the story that don’t really make sense.
It starts several months after R1. Anne disappeared at the tail end of R1, and Gibson has just reached the point of giving up on her and going on with his life when he sees her coming out of Neal’s shop. Before he can confront her, a heavily armored, angry woman stops him. After the fight, he discovers that Anne has been back for about a month, living in the Church of Light, to which she has some impressive but unknown role, and she has also taken over Guild operations in Saramis. Gibson tries to figure out what is happening with her, deal with a number of odd jobs that just seem to be keeping him busy and out of the way, and deal with an old enemy, all while feeling progressively weaker and sicker as the city seems to be getting brighter and brighter.
2012 – Year Six: Saramis: Cradle of Light Genre: fantasy. Wordcount: pending.
Third and final(ish) book in the Saramis Arc. Lots of death, lots of power, lots of fighting. A look at the tremendous power that can be wielded by followers of the Gods. And hints at what is to come.