I don’t know about you, but I’m having a little trouble with the fact that it’s already well into October. My summer has been filled with activity – and inactivity, unfortunately – and it seems like the warm days passed me by before I was even aware.
I think that happens every summer, but I never stop being surprised by it. One moment it’s all flowers and oceans and walks in the park, and the next I’m tripping over decorative gourds and dodging Christmas tree displays at Kmart.
Autumn isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things. Massachusetts is the best place on earth to get your fill of orange leaves and apple orchards, cider and hay bales and cool, misty mornings rolling in over the hills. There’s something in the air that makes you want to invest in some oversized, locally-spun wool garments and take a hike somewhere.
Whatever it is that makes me hoard sweaters and try to find where I put my Crock Pot also flips the switch in my creative brain that starts the wheels turning again. It takes a little while to get the gears going, but as soon as the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) site boots up again and the tweets start pouring in from friends brainstorming their next novels, I can’t help but get excited.
I didn’t know if I was going to participate this year, actually, because I’m in the middle of trying to edit and finish the last two books of The Paderborn Chronicles. Book 3, Dark the Chains of Treason, is in relatively decent shape for the moment, but the last volume, Dark the Wayward Dawn, is suffering from some structural issues (not the mention the fact that I need to write the last 20,000 words).
While I’m not morally opposed to patchwork NaNoWriMo participation, I didn’t want to write the ending to Wayward Dawn and then have to launch into 30,000 make-up words on a new project without a breather. It’s not really how I work, and I want to do a thorough overhaul and edit of the first part of the book before I sketch out the climax.
So, seeing as how I just released Dark the Dreamer’s Shadow two months ago and almost no one has actually read it, I’ve decided to give myself a short break from the world of Arran Swinn, and take this November to indulge in creating a new fantasy. I think it’ll freshen me up to come back to the editing process over the winter, and it won’t seriously delay my (tentative) release schedule.
What am I going to be working on, then? Well, I don’t have all the details fleshed out just yet, but it’s going to be a standalone novel preliminarily titled The Night Heron’s War.
As I mentioned on Facebook a few days ago, I’m thinking about taking elements of the American Revolution (colonies in fractious rebellion; underfunded guerilla combat; a middle/upper class torn in both directions) and approaching them from the viewpoint of an Abigail Adams type character: a smart, shrewd woman who ends up being much more than a good housewife and hostess for a well-connected husband drawn into dangerous circumstances more or less against his will.
She’s one of my favorite historical figures, and while I don’t envision that the story will be an alternate history of the Revolution or anything like that (it’s not set in the real world, for starters), I think she’d make a great fantasy character. Her relationship with John and her steadying hand had such a huge impact on major events – it’s hard not to wonder what would happen if you throw a little sorcery at someone like that.
So that’s the plan for now. I’ve done some very basic hands-free plotting (i.e. using my phone to record myself talking in the car on the way to work), and I’ll probably be working on a more solid outline over the next few weeks, before the fun really begins.
As usual, if you’d like to join me on the creative rollercoaster, please feel free to add me as a buddy on the NaNoWriMo website. If you’re not sure you want to take the plunge, but want to follow along as I gripe and grimace and grin my way through the month of November, consider a Twitter follow instead. You can have all the cat pictures for free.
Who’s going to be jumping in this year? What ideas do you have swirling in your heads? Let me know in the comments!