For the first time in my life, I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo. For those not in the know, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a writing project whereby anyone who has ever thought of writing a novel can sign up to a month of seat of the pants writing frenzy. The aim is to write a 50,000 word novel between 1 November and 30 November, which amounts to 1667 words a day. It’s there to give potential and current novelists the buzz of creation, the deadline needed for motivation, and just to get the basic story written. It’s about celebrating the act of creating novels, of words, of art and make a messy, noisy, and public announcement about the creative process. Plus, it changes the way we read, the way we think, the way we create and the participants in general.

So says NaNo itself. Why am I doing it then, you may ask? I’ve a novel currently underway, at the moment around 97,000 words in first draft (and probably going to peak at around 300,000). I’ve got other projects to be getting on with too, including the next poetry volume, a play or two, and some stuff for TV. This doesn’t include theatre projects I’m involved with, my daily work, and the extra work I’ve taken on which happens also to span November. Why did I choose this insanity?

Because I want to. That’s the be all and end all. But also because I need a win. The creative process can be so very unsatisfying when it’s all tinkering and plodding on and you don’t know when – if ever – you’re going to finish. I need something big to break me out of the creative rut I’ve found myself in. Something to care about. So, NaNo. A big, socially backed up, enforceable project. Sounds like it could be the thing.

But I need a little help from you guys who so faithfully come and read what I write here (and also the help of those of you who drift by from time to time, or maybe have just found me and my ramblings). I need help to make sure I keep on track, support for the project, and just general well wishes.

More than that, though, I want you to choose what I’m going to write. I have two ideas. I want you to choose between them. To vote, leave a comment below as to which you want to see and why. I’ll release the finished article as and when I can after the end of NaNo.

Option 1: The Case of the Black Dog

A story of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, lost up until now. Lestrade comes to Baker Street wanting help with a murderer, who has managed to free himself from prison in mysterious circumstances. Not only is it unclear how the man escaped, but also where he has gone and whether he intends to kill again. Holmes and Watson must get on his trail, but Holmes has been different lately; withdrawn, melancholy, and brooding over some problem in his mind. Will he be able to overcome whatever ails him in time to solve the case or will it all be up to Watson?

Option 2: The Teles Affair

Alex Church is washed up. He used to be one of the foremost spies, but now his wife has left him, he lives in a rathole flat on a Near Earth Space Station and he’s an alcoholic. But the disappearance of Maria Teles, an agent posted undercover as a teacher at a military academy, means that he’s to be brought out of his drink-fuelled retirement. Can he find the missing operative and redeem his name? Or will the depth of this conspiracy pull him down once and for all? John Le Carré meets Isaac Asimov in this spy science fiction thriller.

So, let me know which you’d prefer me to write. I can’t choose either way, so I’m letting you do it. Thanks and wish me luck!

5 Responses to “NaNoWriMo”
  1. kanundra says:

    It is awesome to know you wrote 50k in the 30 days 🙂

  2. dianiarusha says:

    I vote for the Sherlock one. I can’t exactly say why – I just know it’s made me interested in reading it. There’s a lot going on in the second option, which could be difficult to condense into just 50,000 words (not saying you couldn’t go over, of course, but NaNo doesn’t do wonders when it comes to being lenient with pacing…).

    Plus your readers will already know at least a little something about Sherlock, so you’ll be able to focus more on where your story is going. You’ll already have a structure to work with, rather than having to draft out the blueprints and gather all the building blocks, if you know what I mean.

  3. Claire says:

    Gah, I really like the sounds of them both! Option 2 though – methinks that’ll be super awesome.

  4. Stranger #1 says:

    I vote for the second option merely because reasons.

  5. Jack Palmer "father of the redoubtable Nick!!! says:

    Mmm decision time like Diana I think the first would give a better basis for readers who have a knowledge of Sherlock Holmes but be aware that you may get sidetracked into involving yourself in the plots already there courtesy of Mr Conan Doyle the second might be a bigger challenge for you but as a Le Carre fan and a detective/spy fan that appeals to me more whilst the Sci Fi bit is not to my normal if I am to be a help have to plump for one and as you have that brooding withdrawn and melancolic nature at times use your strengths and GO SHERLOCK

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