It's just about that time again. If you aren't aware November is National Novel Writer's Month aka NaNoWriMo. The idea is to write 50,000 words in 30 days with no expectation of quality. This is my third official year signing up. The first year I signed up, I think that was the extent of my involvement. I managed to win, as they call it, last year... but only kinda. I got quite a ways into my novel and then the plot got all twisted up and refused to cooperate. I got more than a little lost as to where the whole thing was going. I started churing out less and less words per day until I realized I just couldn't go on with that story without stepping back and reconstructing the basic plotline and fixing what I had already writen. This is an absolute no no for how NaNoWriMo works especially because I just didn't have time for that if I was to reach the goal of 50000 words. So I stopped that story and just continued on with a short story that I had in my head. Technically I did write 50,000 words, it just wasn't one complete story.
This year I am going to write a story called Time of the Tower. It is actually based on a fantasy plot line I came up with for a game I was building with the Aurora toolset that came with the Neverwinter Nights video game back in 2002. I has spent a whole lot of time learning the toolset and building the game, except that doing something of that scale by myself, outside of a professional environment, was a big pain in the ass. I remember I had this NPC the player could talk to and I didn't want the player to be able to ask him about the gate blocking the way out of the forest area if the player hadn't actually seen the gate yet. There was a flag that you could be set if somebody tried to open the gate, only it wasn't getting set. I scoured the documentation and ranted on the official message boards. Finally somebody posted that that flag was only set if an NPC clicked on the gate, not the player. Thank you a week of my life wasted. Anyway, the importance of all this is that I have the basic plot framework already laid out and I also know how it ends.
The basic story involves a young man on the run who finds himself trapped in a small village in the mountains that is used as a trading stop for caravans coming down off the glacier. A early and quite massive storm chokes the passes with snow and blocks off the town. It also turns out that various powerful entities are converging on the town and the mysterious tower it was built around. The tower, more of a tall, solid and twisted stone obelisk, has been there since before recorded history and it holds a powerful secret. It has a lot of high fantasy elements coming together such as an ancient dragon, a power sorceress and a devious litch. The litch was supposed to be a vampire, but that was way back before vampires became so passe so I changed him to a litch just now. It also has ghosts, time travel and a cool marionette guy. Actually, I also added the marionette guy just now too, though he may replace the ghost.
I've had this idea for a marionette character and have wanted to stick him in a story since I read Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War Again by Garth Nix. I was on the 2007 Aurealis Awards panel where it was up for best Fantasy Short Story. I loved it and successfully lobbied for it to win. He wrote two more short stories about the two characters and they were recently collected as Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz: Three Adventures. I also encountered a cool marionette character in the graphic novels series The Stuff of Legends about a group of toys who venture into the dark to save their owner, a young boy who has been taken by the Bogeyman. I chatted very briefly with Mike Raicht, the writer, on Twitter awhile ago and assured him that I had an idea for a marionette character, but that I had stolen the idea from Garth Nix
not him. Hmm, apparently I do not have the third volume, A Jester's Tale, that came out last year.
That whole last bit was unnecessary, I know. I really only wrote that paragraph to extend the blog post and allow myself to do some more writing. Call it a warming up exercise.
Before I go I just want to encourage others to sign up at http://nanowrimo.org. Each region has it's own section where you can see events and such that are planned by municipal liaisons. The Las Vegas area one can be found HERE and you'll note that our Kick-off Party is Thursday October 31st 2013, 10 PM at Buffalo Wild Wings at 7430 Las Vegas Blvd South. Our first Write-In is on Friday from 6 - 9 PM at the Buffalo Wild Wings at 190 West Craig Road in North Las Vegas. There are other write-ins planned for various areas of town to give you a chance to meet other writers. Not much writing gets done at these, but the camaraderie is good motivation.