It’s September, which means that for those of us who are crackers enough to think we can write a novel in a month, we start planning like crazy.
NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I am going to finish it this year.
For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is basically a challenge where you have to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. November, to be precise, and I have never completed it. One time, I ran out of month. Another time, I ran out of story. But this year, I started planning way back in April, and come hell or high water, I am finishing it.
NaNo is almost a nemesis for me – every time I have a shot at it, something happens, either to the novel or to me, which means that I can’t finish it properly. I am much better prepared this year, and in good health, which means that I should have a decent shot at it.
So what’s my book about? I’m not giving too much away, but it draws on old folk tales from Eastern Europe. It’s a murder mystery set in a fantasy world, which is why I think it will work this year – I designed the world, the characters and the laws of magic and physics. I’m not trying to shoehorn magic and dragons into our world. Dragons need space, and they weren’t having the space within the confines of our world.
I have three central characters – a witch, a necromancer and a mercenary – who seem far more real to me this year than any other character I’ve created for a fictional story. Even the minor characters (the witch’s husband, the necromancer’s familiar and the mercenary’s sister) are more real and solid and filled with personality than in my previous attempts at writing.
The world is solid too. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve drawn on some of the tropes from D&D campaigns – there’s a tavern, a set of scary, mysterious caves, magical lake, standing stones… you know the sort of thing. It’s made the world more real, and the town where it all starts could be any town in any fantasy novel anywhere. I can easily imagine the Fellowship starting their adventure at my town, or even some of the Heroes of the Lance taking a rest at my inn.
The one thing I don’t have is talking, intelligent animals. I’ve never liked that, and aside from my necromancer’s familiar and a horse, there aren’t any animals of note in my novel. I know fantasy worlds often do have talking horses and dogs and the like, but unless someone gets accidentally turned into one of these, my animals are like the animals we know and love in our everyday lives.
Just sharing snippets of my world with you, readers, makes me feel that yes, I am really prepared for this year’s NaNo. I’m going to do it, and I’m going to actually see about getting the story published as an e-book after I’ve done final edits. I believe that you can have your book made up as an actual book, which is something I’d love to do. I will keep you posted on my progress throughout November – I will also be tallying how many cups of tea it takes me to finish this novel.
Are any of you readers going to give this year’s NaNoWriMo a try? Let me know in the comments if you are.