Five years ago this November, I started writing my first novel, after having written fiction actively for around a year and a half. It was called The Tale of a Thousand Savants, written for the yearly nanowrimo mass, um, thing, and like the illustration above, was never finished. I enjoyed starting it, and I enjoyed plugging away at it for the first ten days of the month, but soon I was going nowhere and personal issues cropped up that made writing a frivolous fantasy romp the last thing I wanted to do. By the end of the month I was still somewhere around 9K words, and with the deadline of December 1 rapidly approaching I was all set to give up on it.
And then a funny thing happened. I started to write. A lot. In the last four days of the month the word count went up to 34K, still far short of the 50K finish line, but nonetheless far more than I had ever written on anything, an perhaps equaling my entire output of short fiction until then. It was utterly crap, and not spell-checked (Dan and Spyder can attest to this), but somewhere along the way I had found my characters and the thing just started to write itself.
Unfortunately, those four days gave way to what has now become five years of slow, then non-existent writing output. This past year even my overall creative output has dropped to near zero (I must shamefully admit here that Dan and Spyder can attest to this fact too). I miss being myself. I miss writing, because, frankly, for those two or so years — and those four days in particular — I felt, I knew, that this was what I was meant to do. This was right.
In the past few years I’ve tried — usually around every November during nanowrimo — to kickstart my stalled writing again, but while the projects have shown promise, the writing itself felt laboured and dead.
Now I am, quite literally, at the end of my creative rope, and, as they say about low points, there’s nowhere else to go but up. So, this November I’m going to return to the project that helped me find myself five years ago. It’s a continuation of a novel, so I can’t in good conscience say it’s going to be a part of the official nanowrimo event, but I am going to give it my best shot and write at least 50,000 words in the month.
I doubt that will finish the novel. By my estimate, what I have so far is only around 1/3rd of the plot, but I’ll get there eventually. Some time before that, this picture will be ‘finished’ (i.e. coloured and polished). For now, here’s a larger version of the sketch.
Excerpts and character bios will be going up whenever I write them, and will be posted here. Let’s see how this turns out. Bring your Mars bars.