NaNoWriMo Approacheth!

by Doc Coleman on October 4, 2012 · 2 comments

in NaNoWriMo, Novels, WIP

The time has come, dear friends, when NaNoWriMo lurks on the horizon. This means you can look forward to posts about my new NaNoWriMo project, and the flurry of posts tracking my progress through the month of November. But I need your help, first. National Novel Writing Month is a great program that is made free to its participants each year, but there are costs associated with the program, and the money has to come from somewhere. I know the economy is hard right now. My wife lost her job 3 1/2 years ago when the economy tanked and we’ve been struggling along since then. That is why I’m asking you to help. I’m trying to raise $250 to help support NaNoWriMo, and I’m asking for you to sponsor my novel by donating whatever you can to the fund. I’ve set up a fundraising page over at, so please visit it and donate if you can.

And if you’d like to find out a little more about the kind of book you’ll be supporting, keep reading.

Last year I wrote a steampunk novel. This year, I’m doing something a little different. This year’s project is a modern fantasy. I had a chance to workshop my story with the good folks over at The Roundtable podcast, and they helped me identify a lot of problems with my proposed story. That workshop episode won’t go live until the first Tuesday in November, but I’m already working on some of the ideas they gave me. The idea is still evolving, and I’m sure it will continue to evolve after I get started writing. But I can give you a bit of a sneak peek at what I’m working with.

The original working title was The Alchemist. Now I’m taking the story in a new direction and the working title has changed to The Bright Lands.

Casey Jackson doesn’t like her new town, or her new school. Her family moved when her dad was transferred to a new base. Her mom, a talented artist, has finally lost touch with the world around her and has had to be institutionalized. Casey wants her old school back, her old friends back, and most importantly she wants her mom back.

But Casey has more than just school to worry about. The doctors say that her mom’s condition is usually hereditary, and Casey has been getting some glimpses of strange things out of the corner of her eye. She’s terrified that her mind may be going just the way her mom’s did.

Then one day Casey literally falls into another world. Her school and town have been replaced by a beautiful landscape filled with magical creatures. She is befriended by a handsome elf who calls himself Rodger and introduced to The Bright Lands, a realm of wizards and creatures of magic. Rodger helps Casey find her way home, which he refers to as the Grey lands, and in the process they discover that Casey has the gift of magic.

She returns home to discover that students have been going missing from her school and the entire community is in a panic. As the only child to re-appear after being missing, she is grilled by the authorities, but she cannot tell them what really happened, so she says she can’t remember anything.

Casey’s friends, the school misfits, also question her, but with a lot more sympathy. She finally spills the story to them and is surprised when they believe her. When one of Casey’s friends disappears at school and she detects the traces of magic, the trail leads them all to the Bright Lands looking for answers and trying to rescue their friend. When the clues indicate that a dark wizard is kidnapping the children to steal their creative potential from them, it appears that Casey and her friends may have bit off more than they can chew.

Can Casey and her friends rescue the missing children? Can Casey learn to control her magic and defeat the dark wizard? Can any of them get home from this alive?

Yes, it has holes in it, and I’m still working on some of the knotty problems involved, but I think this is shaping up to be quite a bit better than what I started with.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa (My words and pages) October 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

So what about the holes. I’ve got gaping holes in my idea, but that is part of Nano, work through and find out what those are then fill them later.

Sounds like a great idea! Best of luck to you. Sounds like you are ready to roll with Nano on November 1st.


2 Doc Coleman October 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Admittedly, I have fewer gaping holes than I had before. I’ve dropped some characters, added others, and re-emphasized some of the ones from the original idea. I still have very little idea whom Casey’s friends are, either off-camera at the old school, or at the new school. And I need to flesh out the society of the Bright Lands peoples.

I guess what gets me most isn’t that I don’t feel like I could start writing with what I’ve got, but that when I started writing last year, I had a much better idea of what needed to be in that book. I knew before I started that I was going to collapse an opera house, then drop the ruins into a hole in the ground, have my characters attacked by Clockwork Budgies of Doom, discover the villian’s underground lair, and have to defuse the a doomsday device that could destroy the entire city. I knew that going in. And I still found new and creative ways to torture my characters. Unfortunately, it is going to be a few more months before I should be able to start editing that story into a second draft.

So, it isn’t that I’m not prepared, but that I don’t feel like I am prepared enough.



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