Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To NaNoWriMo or Not NaNoWriMo?

The other day on Facebook, my friend Lauren Patrick posted a general call-out to several of her writer friends (me included) about whether we would be participating in National Novel-Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The gist of it is to write 50,000 words in a month. That's a complete novel by some people's metrics, albeit a bit on the short side.

I am seriously considering participating. While I wait to hear back from the first publisher I sent Battle for the Wastelands, my friend James R.Tuck from my Kennesaw writing group recommended that I work on an entirely new project. He said once he wrote the first Deacon Chalk novel Blood and Bullets, he sent it out to agents and publishers and worked on other stuff in the meantime. It wouldn't do to spend all that time writing a sequel and not be able to sell the first novel.

So I started pondering a new project, born out of thoughts I had on how the Star Trek canon could have gone differently. And so a new space opera came to be, a world born of electric cars and fusion power freeing the U.S. from dependence on Middle Eastern oil, of European unification and the fall of Pakistan, and the genetic engineering of humans came. Now the human realm is divided between five Great Powers, all of whom have nuclear and antimatter weapons, spacecraft using inertial confinement fusion, and offworld colonies. It is in that world that a prototype antimatter-propelled spacecraft is lost and an American warship races an Indian one to retrieve it.

(It's much, MUCH more "hard sci fi" than Star Trek will ever be, and it's not nearly as utopian.)

Battle for the Wastelands is 104,000 words long and took me one to two years to write most of it. 104,000 words is a little long for a first novel. Blood and Bullets is around 80,000 words long, as was Wicked as They Come,the debut novel of Delilah S. Dawson. Meanwhile, The Shifter, the debut novel of Janice Hardy, was 70,000 words. My new project, which doesn't yet have a title, would probably be this length if not somewhat shorter.

I told James the other day that if I made Escape from the Wastelands my NaNoWriMo project, I could write 50,000 words and still have a lot more to do. However, if I did my new project instead, I could, if not actually finish it, be pretty darn close. And a shorter novel would be an easier sell than a longer one.

And now that I've described the project in extensive detail on a well-traveled blog, that means I need to get started pronto, lest someone else steal the idea.

To NaNoWriMo! Let's hope I have time!

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