For the past few weeks, one question has occupied my mind as I walked to work. Which story will I focus on for NaNoWriMo 2012? Three novels on my list haunt me.
At the end of NaNoWriMo 2011, I blogged that my fourth novel would be the project I’d work on. Makes sense, right? My third novel, through the wonders of the NaNoWriMo experience, is well on its way to being published by the end of 2013. It stands to reason that the one I planned as the fourth novel would follow. Except…
Distractions come in the form of other stories on my works in progress list. One of my short stories, Ivy League Crypt, yearns to become a novel of its own. It’s a bit of a departure from my usual historical fiction. The plot formed over a series of dinner conversations with another writer-friend, and it subsequently earned its own folder in my Scrivener works file. I have a long list of novels and short stories to write that stands by my computer. Only the ones I’m committing to earn a place in the Scrivener works file. So far, there are six. Expanding this in NaNoWriMo would help me establish the new format, which is going to be unusual for the kinds of stories I write. I found myself inspired by the Cubist style used by John Dos Passos, and this novel would be a good fit for it.
Then there is another novel similar in form to The Veiled Mirror and my soon-to-be-released Dark Lady of Doona. It’s about another real woman marginalized by history who will tell her story, this time set in 1880s North Africa. The research is complete. I’ve already written variations of the first few chapters, and the protagonist has found her voice. However, I don’t quite feel ready to write this one yet. Making it a NaNoWriMo project may help me get there.
Then there’s the story I’ve designated as being my fourth novel. It too is a departure from my usual historical fiction. It’s speculative fiction, sort of dystopian, and ancient history plays a significant role in establishing the basis of it. It’s based on a novel I began in 1994. After the sudden death of my brother, I used every bit of creative energy to cope with the loss. The novel grew to a 400-page, 10-point font, single-spaced quagmire before I had to abandon it. In the eighteen years since then, the novel has transformed completely into a new concept, though some of the original ideas remain.
Each day as I walked to work, I weighed the pros and cons of focusing on each of these three works. The novel-length version of Ivy League Crypt would be easy, because stream-of-consciousness writing is an important aspect of it as I envision it. However, the one set in 1880s North Africa is all set to go—research done, voice and plot established. Yet, I’ve done a massive amount of research for what will be my fourth novel. What needs to be done is building the world out of the research. Using NaNoWriMo to make the fourth novel into a world-building exercise is intriguing. Granted, it will be an unwieldy mess. The novel is going to be very long. I have no idea who the characters are anymore. Scenes will emerge, and the story will follow.
Which one won the struggle? The fourth novel. Now just to wait for November to begin…maybe I’ll see you there on the NaNoWriMo forums.