I’d intended my NaNo success post to be a bit longer, but then things interrupted me and I thought I’d just throw it up as it was and come back to my other musings later. Right now I’m sat in Starbucks, waiting for Scrivener to finish loading up and so I have a brief period where no writing is immediately demanding my attention (although apparently product referencing is!).
The thing about ‘finishing’ NaNoWriMo is that I never feel I really do it properly. Yes, I write 50,000 words in a month, and I even do it without breaking the fourth wall and eliminating all contractions and giving people ridiculously long names (although I have been guilty of long titles). What I’ve not yet done is actually finish any of the stories. This is mostly because the sort of writing I lean towards doesn’t fit well to novella size, and I’ve generally found I have more luck with it if I pick a project that I’m interested in rather than one that necessarily suits the medium. Given I think of NaNo’s strengths to come in the community it encourages (seriously, the forums are amazing) and in the way it just gets you writing, every day, no excuses, I’ve never felt too bad about it. But it does then leave me in a situation of wondering what I do when I finish.
I’ve never had a problem with a shortage of ideas. If anything, I have the opposite – I constantly come up with things that sound cool and fun and I want to explore and it’s very easy to leave behind the current grind and slog stage for a new project that I’m still star-struck by and can get enthused about. I find middles the most difficult part of any novel. I tend to come up with ideas that lend themselves to multiple books or at least one very long book, and inevitably I reach a point where it’s hard work. But that’s part of writing. Anyone who says it’s easy is either fibbing or has never written a book. It doesn’t come by magic.
Anyway, all this rambling is leading to a point, I promise. The point is: what to write after NaNo?
Before November hit, I was 37k deep into a rewrite of 2009’s NaNoWriMo, a project I have temporarily named ‘Humire’. During the process of writing this November I’ve realised that I actually want to change one massive aspect of the background that is probably going to involve a full rewrite – not that much of a pest, as I feel better for cutting some of the fat off, and it was only 37k. There’s a lot I can still keep and use and most of the plot will remain the same. I just want more of the grit and hopelessness in the setting.
It had been my intention to take NaNoWriMo and have fun with something, get myself back into good habits and then return to Humire. I did indeed have a lot of fun and I have made some good habits. Only, now it comes to the point where I could hypothetically switch, I can’t help but feel that this would be indulging my urge to project hop rather than doing what’s best for my writing.
Both projects are designed to be fun to write, with no real idea of how publishable they might be come the end until I’ve finished them. There is as much potential legitimacy in my current SF NaNo as there is in Humire. And for that reason, and in the interests of actually doing the unimaginable, and finishing something – for now, I am not going back. For now I am sticking with The Hero Who Cannot Be Kept down, probably for the next six months at least, until the damn thing is finish – beginning, middle, and ending.
So. That’s what to write.