03 November 2013

Navigating the Ne'ery Month of November

November 1 is a day for anniversaries and deadlines. The end of hurricane season and the end of summer (in the south). Halloween festivities are done and Christmas decorations are being set up. Turkeys are milling warily about the barnyard, and students have decided once and for all whether the semester is salvageable--or not. Trees lose their leaves and the leaves are pressed between the pages of books....

It is also the start of National Novel Writing Month for those whose nervous fingers cannot avoid the lusty keys. I have never been able to participate because of its unfortunate scheduling. November is the fattiest meat of the fall semester; it's when I have the most day-job work to do. Sure, I could write a draft of a novel in a month--if I had no day job to tend to, if I had no other disruptions, and if I had the idea in advance. I would like to give it a go one of these years.

I sorta, kinda did that last spring (i.e., 2013). Actually it started in mid-April and went on every night and some afternoons and the occasional morning all the way into June. The day job was an interference only in April and the first half of May. More importantly, I had the idea in advance and it was compelling enough to drive me through the story in dramatic fashion.

I'm referring to the final volume of THE DREAM LAND Trilogy, subtitled "Diaspora"--which suggests the evacuation of a planet's population in advance of a fatal comet's arrival. Whoops! Was that a spoiler? Not really. The story is what the people do and how they do what they do in dealing with that news. And perhaps the best part is that my heroine from Book I (and who appears a few places in Book II) comes back in full glory to lead their industry from airships to interstellar spacecraft--all the while managing a rebellious daughter and countering the evil Overlord. It's a page-turner!

The goal for NaNoWriMo is a 50,000 word book, by definition the minimum length for a "novel". It's not easy to calculate and compare accurately, but when I leaped into DL3 Diaspora, I skipped over the 10,000 words I'd previously written back during the afterglow of completing DL2 Dreams of Future's Past, the first chapter plus some ideas for other chapters, and I went straight to what interested me at that point in time: the final years of the planet featured in the trilogy. I researched everything I could find about astrophysics and advanced propulsion systems, striving to bring authenticity to the story--like all good sci-fi authors do. By the time I let the comet hit, I'd written 72,000 words. Comparing the time factor, that writing effort approximated the 50,000 words in one month that is NaNoWriMo writers' goal. Now just shift that calender.

But we cannot usually just sit down at a given moment and type out a story. I, for one, am a slave to my muses. I cannot work unless they approve of the project. Once started, however, I can run on fumes until it's finished. Then, when it's finished, I fall into a useless funk, dreading I'll never write anything ever again. Months later I get another idea and run it by my muses to see if it passes muster. Then I wonder why I ever had doubts about writing again. It is what I do, after all. No matter what month it is. When I retire and have my Novembers free, I will be there. I have a few ideas sitting on the shelves, don't worry, waiting to be filled out as novels.

This blog post is sponsored by The Dream Land Trilogy:

THE DREAM LAND Book II "Dreams of Future's Past" has been available as an ebook and now is also available in paperback: Here's the ebook page on Amazon; click the paperback button when it shows up.

THE DREAM LAND Book III "Diaspora" will be available as both ebook and paperback simultaneously in December 2013.

AND don't forget where it all begins:

THE DREAM LAND Book I "Long Distance Voyager" is currently available as both ebook and paperback.

(C) Copyright 2010-2013 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

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