Wednesday, 28 September 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 Options

It’s becoming extremely likely that I will do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. What with not needing to do report cards, or in fact even teach. I'm leaning towards it not because I need more time to write (I’ve maintained two weekly blogs for over a year while teaching before - often buffering in November) but rather because of the community and the motivation I might find.

Long time readers of THIS blog might even recall my deconstruction of JulNoWriMo 2012, where I talked about not being able to turn off my edit-brain. "Just write" is not my style, but I need to experience shared suffering, or something.

On his blog, Scott has looked at some of his story possibilities (so check that out, see what you think of his ideas too). It motivated me to do the same here. I’m looking at three possibilities. I’m mostly interested in which one might actually be READ, whether by you or ANYONE, which is ALWAYS my problem. But if you see something else, be it style, personal growth, other, chime in too.


Three years of personified math as a serial flopped in terms of widespread audience interest. A year of webcomic, with redesigned characters? Fared worse. How about a novel? Shall we try a novel? It’s similar stuff, but no pictures.

The basic idea would be a female college/university student drawn into the world of my character functions - for some reason. Maybe along the lines of “The Phantom Tollbooth” or “The Number Devil”, obviously without copying those. Not necessarily my setting's High School Zone either, could be Fractal City. Maybe I could even do my “Resurrection of Sine” plot. (Yeah, Sine died, but her return was always an option.)

Pros: I know the characters and the setting well. From a “CanCon” panel, I have some random ideas in an envelope. It gets me back into math, I’m doing less of it lately.

Cons: Need to stat out the protagonist and give her a sensible plot and character arc. The story’s based on non-fiction (the math part at least) so I’ll need to do actual research as I write. And this whole universe has been hugely invisible so far, so why would I be expecting readers?


“Time & Tied” has been doing pretty well, comparatively... it gets comments from more than two people. Book 3 is running now, I’ve spent two months editing Book 4, and can probably finish that by the end of October - meaning “Book 5” is the next logical step. I already started it over a year ago (but didn’t get far, summer ended).

The basic idea is Carrie Waterson, temporal paradox girl, in her first year of university at UOttawa. Where she encounters someone else, who seems to have the same powers she does, which should be impossible. And they want her dead.

Pros: The temporal issues are such that I’ll really have to write the whole thing, then go back and reverse fix, before I can release anything - and NaNoWriMo is a forum (THE forum?) for that style. New setting and characters means less to back check of what I wrote in prior Books, plus I already have a decent handle on Carrie’s roommate, Katherine.

Cons: The secondary characters need to be fleshed out, and there’s a bunch on her floor. I also need related subplots (aside from Crystal’s plan to make a magical girl) and motivations. And I need to finish Book 4 in October first, so possible burnout, T&T has been so constant lately.


“Last Magical Girl” was a 52,000 word story I wrote in August 2010 (based on an idea from 2003). I only got halfway into the plot I had in mind, so another 50k would probably get that out of my system. If you’ve read “Epsilon Project”, this was Simon Black’s origin (he appears on that site in Story2, ‘Wish Fulfilment’).

The basic idea is a world suffering from a rapid aging disease. A magic obsessed guy named Simon tracks down Rebecca, the “Last Magical Girl” - and the military track him, they want her for themselves. Because (while she’s from the late 1600s) she’s now got many magical forms “downloaded” into her (old, young, various races, etc) who each have a unique ability. Might one have the cure?

Pros: I still have the file on Becky’s forms, and she was a fun character. It would get this story out of my head (the way JulNoWriMo 2012 dispensed with Virga Mysteries), too many stories are in my head.

Cons: I’d need to re-read the first 50k to get my brain back in gear, and even then I suspect I’ll have only the same vague scenes I did then. Would there be enough new stuff to get another 50k? And is this even that unique of an idea lately?


You might have noticed that these are all continuations of some sort. I don’t want a completely new project, I have FAR TOO MANY PROJECTS as it is. (Projects which almost no one reads already, I know, but still.) So, which “continuation” is most likely to be read at some point? Or simply seems the best? Or conversely which is the worst, the one to strike out and then let the other two battle? Let me know, thanks! Gives me a month to tool around with them.


  1. I like the math idea. But go with your gut.

    1. I had two similar remarks on Facebook - in terms doing what I'm drawn to write. The votes were for #3, the magic story. Hmm.

  2. Also, Amazon rankings. You give your book 2 categories in Amazon, and it gets ranked accordingly. It's pretty easy to see the numbers of books in each category - if you write something and publish it as YA Fantasy, you need to write better than the 21.5k other books on Amazon to get into the top ten.

    If you write something categorised as YA science and nature, you only compete with 240 other books, and Maths is science, right?

    1. I suppose the other side of the sword is that lots of people read YA Fantasy, whereas fewer people read YA Science. So in some sense you're just as hidden - 50 people reading 250 books is in the same proportion with 5,000 people reading 25,000 books. (And the math story would probably have more fantasy to it than not. Also, don't see it reaching top 10.) Of course, no real plans to go to Amazon. Still, useful information, and thanks for the comments!

  3. Math continues to be a fun idea, and fish-out-of-water / portal stories usually do pretty well.

    1. I keep thinking math is fun, but that story rarely sparks positive reactions! Interesting point about portals though... thanks for adding your thoughts to this!