It is now October 7th and Nanowrimo starts on November 1st. Last year was the first year that I in earnest attempted (and successfully completed) Nanowrimo. It is an accomplishment that to this day I am extremely proud of. I wrote a book in a month. That book is still far from finished and is mostly scattered ideas, but there are about 65,000 words in that project file that I continue to slowly work on.
I initially wasn't going to do Nanowrimo this year. My success of my book from last year was scuttled by little action in fine tuning and editing the story for the rest of the year. I went from cranking out the 50,000 words in a month to barely going back and editing the first few chapters the rest of the year. I suppose in some ways it was meant to just sit for a while. My original plan for Nano this year was to basically edit my book from last year. I spent approximately three months planning last year's story so when mid-September hit and I got those emails from Nano that it was approaching I figured I had no chance in planning something for this year.
Nanowrimo though has this certain desire to it that I have felt creeping up in my mind the past couple of weeks. It is the same sort of creep that I have felt from other very tough events I have done in the past, like Tough Mudder. At the time of doing it, it is sometimes an incredibly painful process. There are moments of brilliance, but mostly extended periods of pain and frustration. If you successfully come out the end though there is this sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that is difficult to describe.
I have been quietly talking about Nano on and off the past couple of weeks with Megan and she sort of encouraged me to just go ahead and try and do something. I think this is a habit of mine that I often do. I fester on topics or ideas for weeks at a time and then finally there is a tipping point where I do them.
Up until about a week ago I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to write about. I have material from last year's book that certainly will most likely go into the second novel of that story so I could have started on phase 2 of that story arc. I didn't quite want to do that though. The fact that I don't have the first story completed has be a bit afraid of taking off in the second books arc. I did have an epiphany though. Last year when I was writing I accidentally misspelled a couple of words that resulted in two characters. I have a tendency with my typing and muscle memory to mistype common words. "The" for example almost always comes out at "teh" when I type.
The words word "Apath and Spice" were the resulting words. At the time I just threw them into my character notebook for last year's novel and figured I could incorporate them into the story at some point as a sort of Bauchelain and Broach type cameo seen in the Malazan novels. After looking at the names though heir style didn't fit with the other naming mechanisms I used for the rest of the book. That book borrowed heavily from a Persian influence so I didn't feel there was a way to fit those names in effectively. Instead I decided to take those characters for this year's novel and make them their own identities set in some sort of sci-fi universe. They are going to be a husband and wife team that are going to take a lot of influences from Cowboy Bebop. I don't think they will be bounty hunters, but they are going to have something that causes them to get into some over the top adventures. I like the idea of conflicting personalities that I can draw upon from my own relationship with my wife. We have these "events" in our daily routine that I sometimes find hilarious and I think could make for good material for a story.
My structure this year is to actually write the novel as a collection of short stories. I think based upon the character structure and my influences from anime and other sci-fi that would make an ideal format for these two characters . I am taking some heavy influence from the Gotrek and Felix novels on this one since those are all essentially a collection of short stories placed into a novel.
I am now rather excited to try and put this novel together over the next month. I have to spend the next few weeks fleshing out character profiles and also developing the 7-10 short story ideas that I have for the book. Hopefully I can once again complete a Nano.