NaNoWriMo; When inspiration finally comes to fruition

I haven’t updated the blog in a while and that’s been because every available word at my disposal has been thrust into this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you who don’t know). And, for the first time it looks like I’m going to complete the challenge; 50,000 words in a month. I reached 40,000 yesterday so thought I’d take a brief gulp of air and push my head up to see what’s happening.

Many years ago as I was walking passed a building site, inspiration struck me. The first year accommodation for my university were four concrete and skyline-domineering tower blocks. They really were an eyesore, but I had many good memories. When the site was sold to developers, I assumed they’d simply blow the towers up; you know, Vegas style. As I walked by on this particular day, an extremely long crane with a unyielding set of metal jaws rose into the air instead, and it began to dismantle the towers from the top downwards. The image immediately sparked something in my head; it was like a great creature reaching into the air and causing destruction with ironic grace. At that time I was writing Inside Evil, and there was no way I could fit in these beasts. And so, CRYO took its first footsteps of life.

Like all things, the CRYO tale took on a life of it’s own; so much so that these beasts almost didn’t appear at all. John and Kath, my main characters in the first novel, took over my head and led the story where they wanted it to go. But finally, as I hit 30,000 words in the sequel, years of thinking finally came into alignment and the huge crane de-constructing my former home finally wormed its way into the pages of my book.

This year, NaNoWriMo has been a complete God send. It’s fitted in seamlessly with my writing schedule, and I intend to have about 60,000 words written by the end of the month; that’s two-thirds of CRYO – A Changed World complete. It’s been extremely interesting writing this sequel and taking John, Anne, Amity and co into the great world beyond the CRYO station. They’ve discovered – actually, they still are discovering – a lot of new things and are leading me in great circles around my story milestones.  There’s also the battle of a language barrier between my CRYO survivors and a new race to contend with ….it’s a difficult line to write a new language without it becoming absurd, whilst trying to put enough in to show the difficulties my characters face.

Whilst I was aiming to get this sequel out towards the end of February, it’s looking like it might come early…and that’s something I’m extremely pleased to hear!

A surprising new book

You may have read an earlier post where I talked about how to promote books on Squidoo. I’ve become fairly addicted to Squidoo over the past few weeks, and whilst I am yet to actually note any sales as a direct result of my marketing there, I am having fun. In addition, creating a lens about how to write a great vampire novel seemingly triggered a creative thought process in my brain, and now I started a new book!

With it being NaNoWriMo this month, and the fact that I haven’t really got off the starting block with the third Inside Evil book, I’ve been a little worried. I’ve failed at NaNoWriMo for two years running, mostly because I just haven’t sat down to write, rather than attempting and failing miserably. I have no interest in writing a vampire story, it’s really not my thing, but my Squidoo lens talked about the importance of bringing something new to a genre, of putting your stamp on it, of creating a new tale with one or two features that are original. Finding originality in literature is incredibly hard these days as most things have already been written. Then, choosing to write in a small genre, such as vampires, makes the task even harder. But it got my brain thinking, and last night I had a flash of inspiration for, uh-oh, a zombie story.

The inspiration occurred to me yesterday, and I decided to write some notes and shelve the idea for a while. After all, I’m in the middle of writing TWO book series. Plus, I’ve NEVER wanted to write about zombies. However, as I was working at a gardening client’s today, the novel just wouldn’t leave me alone. Ideas were coming thick and fast, and I’ve just ended up writing a 3,000 word first chapter for the book! I don’t have time to write a full length novel, not when I’ve got other series in motion, but a short 20k/30k novella might be OK. So, it’s decided, this NaNoWriMo I AM going to participate. I’m going to write my first ever short story. I’m going to take a leaf out of Hugh Howey’s book, and throw a short out there and see if it gains traction. If it does, I’ll write more. If it doesn’t, I’ll be happy that I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time and crafted my writing skills a little more.

I’m excited! I’m off to write!