It’s that time of year again! Sign-ups have started for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve already set up my profile and conned one local friend into joining the madness with me. I just realised that this is my tenth year of participation. (My first was in 2002, but I punked out in 2006, thanks to directing Romeo and Juliet that month, and in 2009, thanks to writing my Master’s thesis, which I guess are both okay reasons). I’m looking forward to continuing my winning streak — 2011 and 2012 were both very good for me. I believe 2013 will be as well. I’m so excited for it that I’ve already started diving into the forums — and I’m clearly not alone in wanting to immerse myself in Nano’s special energy as soon as possible. There are nearly 29,000 writers signed up as of this moment, and several forums have taken off like a shot — particularly the Fantasy Genre Lounge and the Reference Desk.
October at my real-world job is completely bananas. Especially this year. We host a conference towards the end of the month, where a few hundred of the experts in our field descend upon our Playhouse for almost a full week of paper presentations, staging sessions, shows, and festivities. My boss and I spend several weeks preparing ourselves and our volunteer coordinators and teams of helpers, and then spend a series 16-hour days herding the cats, guiding our volunteers, schmoozing the VIPs, and just generally being as capable and charming as we can manage. I’m presenting my own paper, so, y’know, no pressure there. This caps off a month where we’ve had two teacher seminars in a row, last weekend and this, a few leadership seminars, and a host of other normal, non-conference responsibilities that always crop up at the beginning of the school year. So, really, while Nano is always a bonkers challenge of its own, this year, it’s also a reward. After a month of bleeding out for other people (happily! I do love my job, it’s just seriously exhausting sometimes), in November, I get to retreat into a world of my own creation. I’m really looking forward to it.
This year, I’ll be working on re-envisioning my screenplay, Tallows House, as a novel, The World is Always Ending. (Working title, at least, thoroughly stolen from a Neil Gaiman short story). This is a pet project, and I freely admit that. I’m more interested in getting The Antares Project to a finished, query-able state, and I think it’ll meet with more success. But, it’s also at the fill-in-the-gaps-and-fiddly-bits stage, which isn’t good for Nanoing. I’ll share some more about TWAE’s premise later, though, and probably some character sketches.
Honestly, at this point the hardest part is not writing. I had a snippet of exchange in my head yesterday, and I just have to hope it’ll still be there to recall on November 1st. I’ve had a great idea for dealing with the timeline and communicating its non-linear bits, and I can’t let myself scratch down more than a few memory-jogging notes. But that’s part of the fun of it. I like letting the pressure to write build up, like a champagne bottle ready to pop.