Preparing for NaNoWriMo here. Words and phrases flutter through my mind at random times and  I walk around in a permanent state of anxiety. Will that scene work? How does he get into the arc? More importantly, how does he get out? And what about Laurence? And Chris? How old is Chris? And more worrying than all that, why on earth did I dream last night that the oak tree was torn apart by lightning?  I have notebooks in every room,  in all my  briefcases and various handbags, in my bedside drawer, even a couple of spare ones in the boot of my car. All filling up with arbitrary jottings; ‘he tears the business tags from his old suitcase’ (Mike and the Mechanics: ‘Another Cup of Coffee’) ‘last line of defence’, ‘darkness of my soul’holding the line’ — silly stuff like that. Words from poems learned at school, fragments of ideas from other novels I am reading, photographs, screenshots, feelings.   Even now I am searching for an elusive quote that is hiding half-remembered in the recesses of my mind.

I have the last line of the story ready although I remember thinking that about Shepherd and it didn’t work out the way I planned. But at least I have something to aim for, a target of sorts. There should  be four distinct parts to the story, and it covers a vast length of time, very different to Shepherd which takes place in little more than a fortnight. And even now, reading my notes, I wonder whether I can do it, whether I can pull it all  together.

I could ‘cop out’ and write a light chick-lit’ story (I planned one a couple of years ago!) even a teenage vampire story, (on second thoughts, no) or something trashy and popular. But I am not doing this to be popular. I am doing this to prove that I can.  I want to write the stories that matter to me, whether anyone else reads them.  50K words in 30 days.  Just WHY they chose November is beyond me!  It would be so much nicer to do this in February – when the days are dark and Spring seems a long way off. It would have made a daily target of 1785 words, but hey, who’s counting!

What matters though is that NaNoWriMo is not really a contest; there are no ‘prizes’ for completing it, just the knowledge that you have achieved that goal. There will always be detractors, and people who say… why bother? Well, for the same reason that I spend hours writing in a fandom that has so few writers. 

I suppose you could call it bloodymindedness.  I always did enjoy a challenge.

Combined Ops and NaNoWriMo

I opened up ‘Combined Ops’  the other morning. The first time in a while. It’s half finished, and I like the premise of the story, but I have had to rewrite a considerable amount to fit in with recent developments. (Drat you Obama… This had the Orion space capsule in it and you went and cancelled that programme!) Anyway, given the time and inclination  I would rewrite the whole thing, but as things are right now, time is scarce. It was Heinlein who said –  in his five rules for writers  – Finish what you write..  and  as I always considered Heinlein to be a really great writer, I am following his advice.

I will finish Combined Ops. It might not be a great story, ( might not be a good story in actual fact!) but it deserves to be completed. I don’t like the thought of leaving stories… floating and abandoned on old flash drives. Like  my early stories, it might be ‘clunky’, might be full of cliches and adverbs and pleonasms, but there will be a sense of satisfaction in getting it completed. It may well end up as the final story in the Rachel Chronicles. I am finding it increasingly diffficult to write ‘Straker’ in that style now. He has, in my mind, developed far beyond the character who appeared in the  Rachel stories For a start, I don’t see Ed Straker playing the piano now, or being so openly ‘touchy-feely’ with Rachel. But, dammit, THAT Ed Straker was fun to write when I first started out.

So. What now? Well, NaNoWriMo has reared its ugly head once more. It was two years ago when someone on a forum suggested that I participate, but  I was busy starting Shepherd then as well as  dealing with other, personal, problems and last year I was at the end of Shepherd and simply couldn’t summon the enthusiasm.

This year? Bring it on!!  I will give it my best shot. I want that NaNoWriMo winner’s award!