The first time I participated in National Novel Writing Month was 2010. I wrote a story with the working title "Inheritance," and it was...not very good at all. The plot went something like this: a guy's best fried dies, and he ends up getting custody of the dead guy's daughter, despite the fact that he never wanted children. Oh, and the girl ends up being like a queen of magic, or something. I don't really remember.
I wrote over 75 thousand words on that story, and once November was over, I never looked at it again. I'm sure it's still on my computer somewhere, but I haven't ever gone back to re-read it, or work on it anymore.
In 2011, I worked on a story called "How I Spent My Summer." It's about a high school kid who gets a summer job as Death. The goal for National Novel Writing Month is 50,000 words, and I made it in just over quota with 50,023. I actually went back and looked at this one several months ago, and although it's not what I'd call good, it had some potential, and for awhile, I was even working on it again, hoping to get it molded into something worth reading. In the end, it got too boring, and I figured if I was bored writing it, the reader wouldn't have a chance, so I stopped.
In 2012, I wrote "Canadian Monsters." I've always felt my hometown of Canadian, Texas was a little weird, and would make the perfect setting for a horror story of some kind. With Canadian Monsters, I basically wrote down exactly what had happened in my life since I moved back here, but then added all kinds of wizardly elements to make it more interesting. This was a pretty easy one to write, and I had quite a bit of fun with it. It shows, too, because the story is actually readable, and I finished it ahead of schedule with over 80 thousand words. Someday, I might even be able to release this one out into the wild.
Last year, I worked on a sequel to that story called "Possibly Toxic." I technically have a finished novel, but it's only 58 thousand words, and so rough that I wouldn't be comfortable showing it to anyone. Hopefully, I'll eventually get it fixed up enough to do something with, but it's hard to say--it's hard enough to sit down and write, these days, and the idea of sitting down to edit is laughable.
I had planned on writing the third story in the trilogy this year, but because I never went back and cleaned up Possibly Toxic, I knew that whatever I wrote as a follow-up would be just as much of a mess.
So instead, I went with a different kind of story. The working title is "Name Brand Hero," and it's a tale about a team organized by a corporation to make a real-life superhero. The entire point is subversive advertising--the actual company isn't ever supposed to be affiliated with the hero. But when he gets done stopping a crime or whatever, sometimes he'll drink a certain soda, or mention how he likes a certain pair of shoes. Then, they let social media do the advertising for them.
So far, I'm running at just over 62 thousand words, and I think the story is pretty okay.
I've written about NaNoWriMo before, but those posts got lost in the recent server problems, so I don't mind going over it again.
You don't really win anything for writing a 50 thousand word novel in a month. There's no way to make sure you actually did it, there's no way to prove that you didn't. It's not about getting anything from anyone else.
The point is getting something from myself. Every November, I sit down at a desk or a table, or whatever writing space I get put together before the month begins, and I force myself to write.
Writing hasn't always been something that I had to force myself to do. But these days, I have other responsibilities, and it seems like as each day passes, I have less and less free time.
Of course that's in my imagination--there are still 24 hours in a day, just like always. But I'm getting old. I need more sleep, I need less whiskey, and when I have spare time, sometimes I just want to turn off my brain as opposed to kicking it into high gear for story-writing.
But in November, I don't allow myself excuses. It's not always easy, but one thing about it--I feel better during the month of November than I do at any other point in the year. Because even though I don't do much writing these days, in my heart, I'm still a writer. And when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, you can't help but feel a little bit better.
Anyway, so that's why I haven't been blowing this place up with posts, despite the fact that I'm super excited we're still up and running.