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Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Next month is NaNoWriMo, a month which has become sacred in the lives of professional writers and those who plan to use it make the leap into professionalism. It's a marathon writing session, and like real races, the writing athlete has to train for this one.

Mainly, what's involved is research and planning, because the words come out a lot more slowly when you have no idea what you're writing about.

It seems I find myself here most Octobers: how do I decide which project to work on in November so I can do the proper planning? It seems my muse loves the change of seasons, because I get more serious ideas for writing projects in the autumn than at any other time.

For the 2013 exercises, I'm really not sure how many words I'll be able to make for a reasonable goal, because I anticipate a lot of fundamental life changes. Then again, I made my goal of 25,000 words and actually completing my novel in spite of a few setbacks and my husband coming home to vacuum when I was ready to type the last word. (I'm not sure I'll ever know what that was about.)

Setbacks this year include:

   Not having any of those trappings I pictured and wrote about in my completion post. There was some serious inspiration in those unassuming objects, and as of this writing I'm still (five months later!) in a hotel with only the barest essentials. I left behind everything but the computer, convinced we would get the sentimental objects out of storage within four to six weeks. Sigh. But I do have story notes I can use because the ideas for both projects came to me here.
   Not being able to decide which project to write!
   Probably moving and waiting for my stuff in storage to come to me some time in November.
   Most likely, my husband ending his job. Nothing like money worries to take one's inspiration away.

But I have grit. Cervantes wrote in prison, and a hotel is definitely better than that. So here are the possibilities:

A YA paranormal story about a sassy girl who can start fires with her mind. Her school is oppressive and she's got to find the self-confidence to break out in spite of some serious traumas. It's conceived as a companion piece to "Middle Awash in Talent" (title soon to be changed), which is about a sassy girl whose sister can move objects with her mind and who has control over whom in that relationship. Like "Middle Awash," this one would be 16,000 to 20,000 words and I would complete it if I chose it for NaNo. Then the question would be whether to try to carry on with the third story I plan to write in that universe, thus completing the book-length project entirely. The third story will be about a psychic as defined against the Talents in the other two stories.


Begin and pledge a reasonable number of words for the rhino novel. An ingenue stumbles into corruption and intrigue on the rhino preserve where she gets a job. The ideas have become unexpectedly thriller-like as I think them through. There is some urgency to this project, since I'd like to complete a novel about rhinos before they're gone from the real world.

And I must make this decision while furiously typing away on a story for a holiday anthology due at the end of October (more on that soon).

Please weigh in. Firestarters or rhinos?