A Life Of Fiction CLVIII

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Looking forward to the next NaNoWriMo: I’m not sure when this post will appear on this WordPress site, as I write posts well in advance, and I have a lot of them in the bag. I think I that I may have almost six months worth of posts still to put up on my website. But I don’t see the point in putting, say, twenty up in a single week. I foresee a time when I may run out of things to say. So I will carry on putting them up one per week or so.

Anyway, this post is being written in March of 2016, even if it will not be posted then. My thoughts have just turned to the next NaNoWriMo. For those few of you who do not know what that is it is the National Novel writing Month, and takes place in the month of November. The idea is to write a novel, during November, of at least fifty thousand words. I have taken part in the challenge twice. The first time, in November 2014, I completed the novel Empire Of Steam, which you can find, in chapter form, on this website. Last November I completed Steam Park. I am now working on the second sequel for that novel.

Anyway, the reason for this post is that although I do not begin writing for this challenge until the first of November, there is nothing which says that you cannot begin thinking about what you are going to write months earlier. I like to try and work out, in my head, just what I am going to write long before November comes around. Then I can hit the ground running, so to say.

So, even though it is only March, it is time to begin thinking about what I am going to write in November. For the past two years I have written steampunk novels. I think that it is time for a change. Maybe, this time, I should write a short horror novel. But what? and how do I make it original. There is no point in writing fifty thousand words just for the sake of writing them. I have to achieve something of which I am proud.

It won’t be vampires. I think that I have done everything that I can do with them, while still trying to be original. I think that, in the terms of films, books and television series, that all possibilities concerning vampires have now been exhausted.

Maybe something about a book – but different from my novel The Book Of Gana’Ot. Like I said there is no point in repeating myself.

Maybe a book which eats people, and puts them on its pages? But I am sure that must have been done in some book or some movie, although it does not spring to mind at the moment. The benefits of doing that is that I could have basically what are short stories linked together inside the architecture of the novel. I could work on different sections at the same time, as I piece together the narrative. At least that would allow me to write quickly – which is something you have to do in NaNoWriMo. You can’t dawdle. But maybe not the book idea. I really do think that it has been done before, even though no title springs to mind.

I thought, maybe, about some body horror-type thing. I came up with the idea of a person slowly turning into a robot, with his tissue and organs slowly replaced by mechanical ones, with no explanation of why that was going on. Just let it be one of those strange occult occurrences. But, after a little thought, I decided that there probably wouldn’t be enough there for fifty thousand words. It would come up short (and I hate stuffing stories with literary padding). But I like the idea, so I decided to write it as a short story. In fact I have already begun work on I Turned Into A Robot! Shock! Horror! It will eventually be published in The Last Stories Ever Told, which is intended to be my last ever short story collection. But I have only done around thirty thousand words on that collection, so don’t expect to see it any time soon. Besides, there are other short story collections which I want to complete before doing that one.

Or curses. I haven’t really done anything much involving curses. Maybe it’s time that I did. They have been a staple of horror movies and fiction, after all. Curses can be anything from building a house on an ancient American Indian burial site, to annoying a gypsy. I’m thinking of something like Stephen King’s Thinner here.

Of course if I decide that Curses (working title) will be my book for the next NaNoWriMo I will need to do my own spin on the thing. There is no point in simply rewriting something which has been done by somebody else. For one thing it would be plagiarism. And, for another thing, if you rip somebody else off it is never as good as the original.

So how could I make something like that original? Maybe I could have the main character not know just what has caused him to be cursed. Perhaps he is a collector of occult objets d’art, and he is not sure which one has put the curse on him. I could then examine his relationship with a plethora of occult incunabula. I could then write quite quickly about each item as he researches it, or recalls where he got it from. With occult items I could invent each one.

If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo it is important that you write something which does not require a lot of research. Any time which you spend looking something up is time which is not spent writing. Make it easy on yourself. But with the occult you can easily invent stuff. It’s not like I would be writing a biography of James Branch Cabell.

If I do go with this horror novel there is one thin which I need to work out before I begin writing it (on the first of November) and that is how the novel is going to end. Really, with a curse, there is only two options: either he gets the curse lifted, or he does not. Is it a happy or unhappy ending? But even if my unnamed (as yet) protagonist gets the curse lifted that does not necessarily mean that it is going to be a happy ending. Think of the ending of Thinner.

It is a lot easier if you know what the ending is going to be. Then it becomes a matter of filling in the gap between the beginning and the end.

Or maybe I will write something entirely different.

Ta ta for now.

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