Yes. I’m going to do it again. And I’m terrified. In a good way, but still. You wonder why?
It’s a number of things.
First, I am still not exactly done with Ghost in the Machine, the product of last year’s nano. What I started with last December was a rough draft of some 63000 words, and now, two thirds through posting it, I’m already around 85000. I expect the initial word count will double by the time it’s finished. The lesson learned: the subject matter was too complex to be carried by the short novel format. I had no way of predicting that when I was starting, and that one experience is far from enough to make my new estimates reliable. In fact, I suspect that the thing I want to work on this year doesn’t have enough substance for the 50000 words required by nano.
Second, this time I’m going for original fiction. It will still be science fiction, but it will not be fan fiction. Other than one story I managed to finish when I was a teenager, I’ve only ever written fanfiction. It’s a scary transition, but also, an important one. My fascination with Mass Effect will come to an end sooner or later, and I can’t allow my writing to depend on nothing else for inspiration.
Third, the story I want to tell, with the working title “Three Little Fish”, has become very important to me through many months of thinking about it. The idea struck me around Christmas last year; but at the time I was already too busy with Ghost to even consider engaging with something new. At first, this idea had only some distant connections to my Real Life experiences; but during the time since its inception – and it’s been almost a year – that same Real Life led me through a series of events and realizations that will make it a lot less difficult to enter the minds of the characters. Also, it is one of those stories where I will be expressing some of my own, deeply personal philosophies; it will be a challenge to do that in a clear, accessible way, without nagging and shouting at the reader.
Fourth, I’m scared because my writing habits have taken a turn for the worse lately. I find it difficult to focus, difficult to set the required time aside, difficult to finish. On the other hand, that’s exactly what nano is all about: finding the time and writing no matter what, until it turns into a habit again.
Finally, I don’t want to spend another year editing Three Little Fish after I’m (hopefully) done with the rough draft. I don’t want my other projects to suffer from it the way everything has been suffering from Ghost. I want to be able to do more than one thing at a time, and to have 30-hour days. While having sex with incredibly attractive people. And a seaside manor with a private observatory, a personal jet and property on the Moon. Yeah.
Jokes aside, I know I’m in for one hell of a ride. I’ve already been there, I know I can do it, and I know what it took to make it the last time. So yes, I’m terrified, but I’m also happy and hopeful and excited. Not the least because this year, my dear friend and long time writing-buddy, Misfire Anon, will be joining me. For my other writing-buddies: please consider coming along. Don’t think anyone who enjoys writing can ever regret doing nano.