Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? There's a website (www.nanowrimo.org) that organizes a huge event every year for hundreds of thousands of professional and amateur writers across the world. Basically, writers compete against themselves to see if they can write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words entirely in the month of November. There are forums where you can link up with other participants for support and encouragement, writing resources to help you along with your story, and prizes for the winners. I also found out that they have a program for kids: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ Some of my students are eager to try it! (There are some useful teacher resources on the site, too.)
I'm going to be participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and I'm really excited! Stay tuned; I plan to post brief weekly updates here on my blog about how my writing's going. My goal is to write for at least two hours a day each weekday or until I come up with 1400 words, and four hours on each weekend day, or until I get to 2800 words. That will give me a bit of a buffer in case I fall behind.
Of course, nobody expects anyone to complete a GOOD novel in just one month. The idea isn't that it will be complete and publishable by December 1st. Most people will probably only finish the rough draft in November, but the next eleven months (or however long it takes!) are for the revising, editing, and polishing. I certainly don't plan to show anybody my November's work until I've had a few more months to turn it into something I can be proud of.
What will my novel be about? Well, that's a good question! I'm currently tossing around three main possibilities. My first choice would be to write another book in my Annals of Alasia series, but while I have lots of ideas for my characters' futures, I don't actually have a complete plot in mind yet. And I can't start writing a book without a plot! (Yes, I know, some writers do it that way. It may work for them, but it doesn't work for me!)
Another possibility would be to take a light-hearted short story I once wrote about the misadventures of a group of commandos and turn it into a book of related short stories. That might be the most fun option, as the writing style I use there is both silly and a little weird. It's not my usual genre, but it's fun to do something different once in a while, right?
But the choice I'm leaning toward most right now would be a piece of speculative fiction in a completely new series. It's hard to classify its genre, since it would take place in a setting very similar to our own in almost every way. The characters are all human, and they have cars, phones, fast food, and workouts at the gym. The main difference would be that it's set in a city that's part of a large empire, and in this empire, slavery is not only legal but widely practiced. (It's not based on race; people can be sold as slaves for breaking the law, being unable to pay off debt, getting involved in rebellion against the government, etc.) One of the two main characters would be a slave and the other his owner.
Are you thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo this year? I'd love to hear about your plans! In the comments, feel free to tell us what you're thinking of writing about, and please share any helpful resources you've found to make the process go more smoothly!
Update: Click here to read my second blog post about NaNoWriMo, which includes a link to read an excerpt from my novel in process!