Given the daily format I promised myself I would stick to, I hadn’t planned to address NaNoWriMo until Halloween, or maybe the day before. But because the new cat food is unbelievably stinky as well as exceptionally expensive (the smell probably comes from the fact that chicken liver is the primary ingredient, but it smells more like fetid refried beans to me) I’ve spent all day hiding from the stench. So I spent most of the afternoon at my brother’s place playing video games, even though I haven’t done most of my reading for today yet.
Anyway, because of that, I don’t really have anything to say, unless I want to complain about how much trouble I had filling the cat’s prescription, or how freakin’ hard it is to get one cat to eat one food and the other another, without them then going and eating the other’s food as soon as I blink. However, since I spent yesterday’s entry complaining about my cats, I thought I shouldn’t do that again today. (Um, beyond what I’ve just done, that is…)
So instead I’m going to talk about NaNo. (Talk? Write? Um….well, setting that aside…)
This will be my fourth year participating in the National Novel Writing Month. My past results have been varied.
The first year, I finished the book several days early (even after going in and writing the afterword and character glossary and stuff) and it clocked in at about 142k. (For those who don’t know, the point of NaNoWriMo is to challenge yourself to write a novel in a month. The contest’s official definition of a novel is 50,000 words. Even though that’s too short to be a novel in almost all genres.) I was pretty proud of the book, but it’s taken me until about a month ago to finally get it polished up and ready for self-publication, and even still it’s only pre-publication, because I want feedback so that I can improve it. (Obligatory shameless plug: https://leanpub.com/ilios)
The second year, I broke 50k a day earlier than I had the first year, and finished the novel, which is a JRPG-inspired fantasy novel. (Originally it was supposed to be fairly Final Fantasy, but it ended up being much more Suikoden. Which is a good thing, because Suikoden kicks Final Fantasy’s ass.) I finished the novel more or less on time (I think it was a day or two early still) and it clocked in at…actually, I forget. About 160k, I think. I felt that the novel was an unmitigated disaster, and I haven’t opened the file since. (Someday, I probably ought to go back and read it and see if it’s as bad as I thought it was at the time.)
The third year, I tried to write something that I had initially thought of back when I was 18. (Or was it 19?) It turned out to be very short (about 56k, I think) but a couple of the characters had tried to take over the book for a while there, so I gave them their own spin-off/sequel. That one came in at around 100k, and there was still a bit over a week left in November, so I wrote a prequel (as it were) to the first one, and that one was about 60k? (I wrote all that stuff down, so I could look it up if I really cared, but I don’t.) The point is that I wrote something like 212k, and I was very confident in it; I thought it was awesome. Then I let someone else read it, and learned that no, it wasn’t. Unfortunately, I had made some comments about self-publishing on the message boards, and when I tried to retract them, people leapt down my throat, with the basic message of “even though we haven’t read the book and know nothing about it, we obviously know better than you, and we say that you can’t decide not to publish it!” That arrogance–not to mention sticking their noses into something that was none of their business–pissed me off to the point that I decided that not only was I not going to try to self-publish it with the Lulu code for a free hardback copy as long as it was ready to go out by mid-February, I was never going to allow anyone to read the book ever again, come hell or high water. Because if I ever let anyone see it–and especially if I ever publish it–then those jerks will have won. And I have spent too much of my life letting people walk all over me; I’m not going do so again. Not when it’s so easy to avoid it.
Anyway, the big difference between the last three years and this year is that now I’m trying–however futilely–to get a Master’s Degree. And as I still have not regained (if I ever had it) the skill of reading quickly yet still retaining information, I don’t have a lot of time to spare to write. So my word count is likely to be quite small this year.
On the other hand, this year’s novel is a science fiction piece with strong anime roots, featuring the reincarnations of most of the major figures of the Trojan War, their usual war suddenly cancelled by the arrival of an alien invasion fleet. And although none of them (except poor Cassandra, who’s still perceived as insane) remember their past lives, their personalities are not much different from what they were then. So I’m basically reusing the cast of Ilios, but with the bonus that I get to decide who lives and who dies, and how they live or die. And I will, of course, be following Miss Prism’s definition of fiction: “The good end happily, the bad unhappily.” (Well, there may be some exceptions to that, but…for the most part. It’s a light-hearted type of giant robot reincarnation sci-fi war novel.)
I think it’s the sort of thing that has a lot of potential appeal, and it’s decidedly more accessible than the rather weird Ilios, so I’m trying a serialization as I go thing on LeanPub. We’ll see if it works. (Or rather, I’ll see if anyone’s even the least bit interested. If no one buys it at all, I can just take it down again. The worry is what if someone buys it and then it turns out to be crap?) Plus LeanPub lets you donate some (or all) of your proceeds to organizations, so I’ve got it set up to give half my profits to NaNoWriMo. (Second obligatory shameless self-plug: https://leanpub.com/helenofspace)
Anyway, what I actually meant to talk about was the fact that since I don’t have a lot of time on my hands for writing (my gaming history of the past week or so not withstanding) I’m going to suspend my “post every single day” rule for the blog for the month of November, because I don’t want to waste any of that precious writing time on anything other than my novel. I don’t feel like that’s breaking my promise to myself, because my novel has to come first, right? Especially since I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now…