Saturday, October 23, 2010

Next Up: NaNoWriMo!

You’ve probably gathered by this time (3/4’s through October!) that I’d decided not to do another historic tweet.  Yes, as I’ve written elsewhere, this project turned out to be oddly satisfying.  With this project, I was able to create three minimalist novels.  When I read through each one (as you can, too, if you navigate down the page), I find believable characters who tell real stories that I can follow and enjoy.  I marvel at the feat -- all of this was written in bursts of 140 characters or less.  And I’m the one who wrote them! 

I don’t usually blow my own horn, but this time I have to; I set myself a ridiculous challenge and I pulled it off.  Now I feel a great sense of freedom. Readers of this blog know that I’ve been searching to find ways to reconcile my vocation (writing uncategorizable novels) with contemporary, primarily digital, reality.  As far as I’m concerned, I’ve done it.  I have proven to my own satisfaction that I can make this medium do what I want it to do.  It doesn’t matter whether or not I had readers or made a dime.  I did it.  And that’s what makes artists happy (in that strange, often grim, artist-like way).

Crazy though Twitter novels (and the whole Extreme Writing challenge it was part of) may have seemed, I’m now moving on to a crazier challenge.  I’ve decided to write a steampunk novel….No, that’s not the crazy part!  In many ways, I’m well-suited to writing steampunk.  I’ve spent a lot of years in the 19th century and it turns out that much of what I enjoy reading and watching is at least tangentially allied with the genre (according to current buzz).  For a number of reasons, I’ve been searching for a genre I could write in for even longer than I’ve been on the “blovel” hunt, and when “steampunk!” recently went off like a cartoon lightbulb above my head, I didn’t want to waste a minute getting started.  Here’s where the big crazy comes it:  the story idea presented itself just as Scrivener (a great app for fiction writers) emailed a reminder that National Novel Writing Month was coming soon.

During NaNoWriMo, insane writers sign on to try and spew out a novel.  Starting from scratch (new stories only!), 50K words in one month. The logic behind it is that writers need deadlines.  You also get a built-in support group of others trying to do the same thing; if nothing else, it means there are people who will understand your screams!  Including commuting time, my job-that-pays-the-bills-while-I’m-wishing-I-could-get-paid-to-write-fiction eats up 11 hours of each weekday.  That doesn’t leave a lot of writing time, and surely not enough to push out 50K words.  Even if it did, this story is bigger that that.  But NaNoWriMo is a brilliant opportunity to jump start a new project, so I signed on.  Gulp!

Til then, I'm organizing my ideas -- characters, alternative history divergence points, ripping yarn components -- but starting November 1, I'm a steampunk fiction writing machine (hmmmmmmm.......)

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