November is National Novel Writing Month. As I mentioned last week, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo again, for the third year running. Of course, that means posts here at the Ranch will be few and far between. However, if the progression of my past efforts means anything, I might have something decent when all is said and done this year.
My project in 2007, The Year of Living Magically, cratered a little past halfway and thus fell well short of the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo. Still, it was an important learning experience and I find myself drawn back to that story every now and then with an eye towards redoing it from a fresh perspective. We'll see.
In 2008 I was a winner! All that means it that I hit the 50,000 word mark by the end of November. However, by December I actually had a finished first draft, so I was seriously pumped. Unfortunately, Plausible Reliability is stuck in editing hell and I've lost some enthusiasm for the project. I still have a great deal of enthusiasm for the underlying West Virginia legend that animated it, however, the saga of the Flatwoods Monster. For more on that, see this excellent diary of at Kos (of all places), part of a regular series on UFO lore. It even includes a magazine article that quotes my grandfather, who was mayor of nearby Sutton and publisher of one of the county's newspapers, as well as an article he later wrote for one of the Charleston papers.
This year's project is tentatively titled The Water Road, a title I've lifted shamelessly from last year's Thieves Kitchen album of the same name. It's also the name of the defining geographic feature of the fictional land in which the story takes place. Since it's not set on Earth, doesn't involve humans, and I make no attempts to claim it's scientifically plausible, it's technically "fantasy." But there's no magic (sorry, honey) and it's got little in common with Tolkein and his ilk. Think of it more like a history of another world.
Here's the "back of the book blurb" I've come up with for it:
What begins with a murder, ends with a revolution.Unlike my earlier projects, which were pretty off the cuff, I've spent time over the past few months fleshing out this world and its inhabitants. I even have a map.
The Land is divided by the Water Road. To the north, an alliance of nations clings together against the marauding nomadic tribes of the southern mountains. That fragile alliance, The Triumvirate, has held for more than one hundred years, bringing peace to the north. But one woman, torn between the two worlds, will discover the secret of how that peace has been earned. The spark she strikes will changes her life, and the Land, forever.
Wish me luck and I'll see y'all on the other side!