NaNo? Nah, no.

Last year at this time I was all geared up to write my first NaNoWriMo novel. I had a (vague) plot, some characters built up, a (general) idea of where the story was going.

I lasted maybe 2, 3 days, tops. I just am not cut out for NaNo, or at the very least I’m not ready for that kind of commitment.

Part of my problem was that I’m a pantser, so trying to plot out the novel was hard for me because I go where the characters take me. I have a general path, sure–like going hiking and knowing you want to go north but there’s no trail laid out–but as far as point-by-point outlining goes, I suck at it. I was the kid in school who wrote my essay first then “outlined” it.

Another part was discouragement. I’d write just a few hundred words, nowhere near enough a day to get to 50k in a month, and it was frustrating. I gave up because I didn’t think I could do it.

This year, after evaluating my previous NaNo attempt (and my current life schedule), I’ve decided to skip NaNo altogether this time around. It doesn’t help that I nearly forgot about NaNo, hence did no prep work. But even with a solid story idea in mind that’s already got a good start, I just don’t feel comfortable attempting NaNo this year.

My sci-fi/dystopian novel is still at a halt, though the short story I wrote a couple weeks ago (Room 1313) had some of my characters in it. I need to reboot (or rather re-reboot) the beginning and figure out where my characters are going. Literally, I don’t know where they’re going. This book is going to take considerably more work than Whispers of Death took. I’m starting from a theoretical future, and I have to figure out where in time and technology they are before I can set locales. I mean, if we have a Hunger Games-type world where war has torn the country apart, what’s left of the country? What cities have survived, and what ones were abandoned? What’s the rest of the world looking like? The good ol’ U.S. of A. isn’t the only country around here, and I’m sure the world political situation will be vastly different a couple centuries from now…I’m just not sure in what way it will be different.

I’ll get it all figured out eventually. I just need to sit myself down with a few global maps and a notebook & a bunch of Sharpies and play Devil’s advocate. What happens to X country if Y terrorist group defeats Z country’s defenses? It’s a lot more work than I had initially planned on.

So maybe I’ll see you next year, NaNo. Maybe I’ll have my world set up and ready to rumble by then.

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