I’m doing NaNoWrimo this year. National Novel Writing Month, if you haven’t heard of it. This will be my fourth year of attempting to write a novel in the month of November. I have yet to actually complete one, though I did my my 50,000 words quota in 2009. In 2010, I failed because I was on the road. Learned that I need to write in a “safe” place to write consistently. It was like each time I sat down to write I had to go through the whole “get in the zone” thing all over again. Gave up at around 15,000 words. In 2011 I failed because I hadn’t really figured out what was going to happen in the novel. Plot holes became walls to development of the story. Learned that I need to fully understand my story before I jump into the writing part of it. Finished the month at about 30,000 words.
This year, I was going to revisit my failed 2011 effort. I’ve been working the last few months trying to rethink the story (which has been in my head in one form or another since I was about eight years old). Had substantially rethought the flow of the story. Realized that the previous effort had failed because I hadn’t given the protagonists a clear goal. Sometimes the reader needs to explicitly understand what the main characters think they’re trying to do in order to go along with them for the ride. Not always, but this time I think. Anyway, I had it all worked out except for some third act action sequences, when another backburner project jumped into the front burner of my mind.
That’s how it goes sometimes.
I have been reading a lot of the old pulp novels that have become public domain. Jules Verne, HG Wells, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burrows, Arthur Conan Doyle, etc. Been thinking what a cool thing it would be to create an iconic character which would stand the test of time, like a Conan, a Sherlock Holmes, or a John Carter. I was remembering a character I had made up well over twenty years ago when I was in high school that I’d always liked, but thought he wasn’t really original enough. I brought him back as a Neverwinter Nights character when my wife and I were playing the game a few years ago. She pronounced him my “sexiest” character.
While I was working on my notes for my official novel, she saw a drawing I had done of this old character on my desktop and said she was really excited to see what I would do with this character. I noted that I had an outline for a trilogy which featured the character.
A complete trilogy. All mapped out. No third act holes.
So, I changed my focus.
Wrote five thousand words in the last two days.
Here’s that picture. Yes, this will eventually be a graphic novel. And it will be a lot better than Melandra’s Galaxy. Because I will be better at creating by the time I get around to really drawing it.