September 8, 2017
We’re a week into September now, which means, among other things, that we’re under two months away from NaNoWriMo: the (inter)National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a personal challenge open to people around the world to, as the name indicates, write a novel in a month. Technically the goal is to right fifty-thousand words during the month of November. It’s that “technically” bit I’ll be leaning on as I participate for the first time in a couple of years.
Right now I’m starting my NaNoWriMoPla (NaNoWriMo Planning). In previous years I’ve written 50 to 100 thousand words during the event, always in long form (meaning always a novel). This year, I’m going a slightly different route. Instead of writing a single 50K word story I’m planning on writing a number of short stories that will total 50K words. Given that most publications consider short stories of three thousand words or less, that’s a fair few number of short stories. You see, I’ve had a number of story ideas bouncing around in my head for a while now but no time to actually sit down and write them.
That’s one of the great things about NaNoWriMo. It’s a scheduled event with a definite start and a definite end date. For me at least, that makes it much easier to commit to a specific time to write. On top of that, the 50K word goal is enough of a challenge that there isn’t time to second guess what I’m writing. No self-editing. Just move forward and get the words down. Granted at the end of that there is a lot of garbage and a lot of things that need to be fixed and reworked but there is also a more or less complete story (or in my case this year, multiple more or less complete stories).
Among the short stories I’m contemplating, there are a few that have names that will be familiar to long time visitors to this site. I have a couple of ideas for some new Satin & Sutherland stories. I also have some ideas for stories centering on characters from the upcoming Robyn HUD computer game.
Short stories can be extremely useful tools for developing characters and plot ideas. In several projects, I’ve used short stories to help me find the “voices” of different characters. When you write an entire story from a given character’s point of view you have to develop an ear for how that character sounds. That’s tremendously useful when it comes to writing dialog for that character in other projects.
On the topic of other projects, I do have more story ideas in mind than just Satin & Sutherland and Robyn HUD. However, they’re not the types of ideas that can be summed up as succinctly as referencing other work I’ve done. Will those other story ideas materialize into something on this website or elsewhere? We’ll have to see. Until then, back to planning.