I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you not familiar, NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month–an annual collective write-in, competition-slash-love-fest that comes along each November. The goal, for those who participate, is to write a novel in one month. More precisely, 50,000 words in 30 days.
This is not my first NaNo. I participated in 2013 and 2014 working on my first draft of Shadow of Bionon (what was then still going under Realm of the Crystals). In 2013, I had hoped to capitalize on the competition to get most of the rest of my draft completed. In 2014, I was still working on that draft and was beginning to fear that I would never actually be done with what had become a genuinely Sisyphean endeavor. It didn’t help that in neither year, did I make it anywhere near my goal–I did 19 or 20K each time.
I did eventually finish that draft. Then I launched into an agonizing revision process which left the novel twisted, out of balance, and in every way worse than the draft I had originally written.
I had to walk away from it–at least for a while. I have so many people–from my wife to my writing group–who have been cheering me on with this book and I very much want to see it through. Those who have known me the longest also know that this story has been rattling around in my head (literally) for decades. To not bring this thing to fruition would constitute a major life regret at the end of the day.
And THAT, my friends, is part of the problem. After all these years in my creative slow cooker, I am now simply too emotionally invested in Shadow of Bionon to bring any fresh creativity to it.
With that in mind, I came to this year’s NaNo determined to shake things up a bit. To actually write something new. This was scary because I had been secretly concerned for a long time that Shadow of Bionon was the only book I really had in me.
There was only one way to prove or disprove that.
So this year I am now about 12,000 words into a completely new work: Spacejackers From Beyond The Multiverse! (That exclamation point is actually part of the title.) It’s space opera in the campy vein. Like Costanza from Seinfeld, it’s short, funny, and kind of dumb. Filled with intentionally nonsensical pseudoscientific gibberish. And since I don’t have anything to prove with this one, I feel like I can get a lot crazier and more creative with it. Even though, like Shadow, Spacejackers takes its inspiration from my distant past, it’s a totally different take–different enough so that I don’t feel shackled by my notions of what it’s “supposed to be.”
Shadow of Bionon, however, is far from dead. I can assure you–it’s only resting.
In the meantime I hammer out words with the goal of hitting 1667 words per day–on average. At this point I’m about a day’s worth of words under par. But I’m more than halfway to the most I had previously written.
NaNo is hard–and one finds new and interesting ways to procrastinate. This blog post is one of them. So I’m going to get back to Spacejackers. I’ll try to check in again periodically through the month and let you know how it’s progressing.
[*** If you are interested in being a beta reader for Spacejackers, contact me via social media or through the Contact tab above! ***]