NaNoWriMo in July: the beginning.

The writing bug has bitten me. “Killing the Dragon” is still scheduled for November, but I need to write, now. Since NaNoWriMo runs a “Camp” in July, I’ve plunged straight into it as a warmup to November.

July’s story is “The Radio Andromeda”, a novella projected at 20k words (well, that’s my word goal) set in the same world as “Killing the Dragon”, and based off a motif I’ve had for many years about a radio that picks up music broadcasted from outer space. In fact, I stole the title right off the source of this inspiration, although the novella would probably end up having nothing to do with Andromeda at all. Maybe. But for the theft, my deep apologies.

There’s also another story in the works, begun shortly before July Camp, because I couldn’t wait and wanted to start something. “Old Man’s Journey” is probably going to be a series of short stories in a conventional fantasy setting. I once had an idea of making a AD&D roleplaying character in his twilight years, just to see how a senior would influence story and character dynamic in the tabletop RP group. The game fell through, but who is to stop me from exploring that on my own? Not to mention, I already have a cast of characters for a travelling group, based off some unusued/shelved RP characters.
Nothing better than recycling imaginary figments.

Killing the Dragon is being meticulously planned, but I just jumped straight into Old Man’s Journey knowing not much more than the opening scene and the characters therein, and got out about 1,200 words for it over a few days. It’s now on hold, as I’ve launched into Radio Andromeda and opened July Camp with almost 1,500 words yesterday evening.

I’m quite surprised. I began Andromeda barely knowing anything, even less than Old Man, and didn’t think I had so many words for the opening scene. But there it is, 7.5% of my 20k goal. And the opening scene has produced a host of questions to answer and possibilities to explore — now I have plenty to write about. After all the planning and world-building that I’d already put into Dragon, I was a bit skeptical about this “pantsing” business, but it looks like it may actually work for me after all.

The “inner editor” hasn’t really surfaced (yet), in both cases. But I’ve made it a point to keep writing, and let that carry me into the next scenes, conflicts and plot points. Edit only if it’s a word or two, or if I find a plot hole/question that I can answer immediately and insert into the narrative without having to rewrite extensively. So far that’s working.

But it’s still early days. Finishing is always the harder part. I think it’s going to get harder, but Andromeda is off to a good start and I’m looking forward to see where it goes! I truly have no idea — and that’s exciting! And if I finish Andromeda for July Camp and still have wordcount left, it’ll be right to Old Man.

Something else I noticed… The very opening sentences of Old Man, Andromeda, and Dragon (planned) are all of someone waking up suddenly at an unexpected time. Well. I have to change that the next time I start a story.

Will try to check in in mid-July, and at the end of it. Good luck to all NaNo Campers out there!

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