So, what happened to November?

by Doc Coleman on December 13, 2013 · 4 comments

in Novels

The plan for this November was pretty much the same as last November: Write a new novel for NaNoWriMo, and post a daily diary chronicling the journey. This year I had the added tool of the Magic Spreadsheet added into it. The plan was not just to write 50,000 words, but to do so by writing every day. So what happened?

I did start the novel at the beginning of November. This was a new work, a Sci-Fi novel about a mixed crew of humans and super-powered metahumans setting off into space to find a new habitable planet in order to bring an end to the bloodiest of all race wars: the fight between humans and metahumans.

And it kicked my ass.

I started out well enough. I was getting my word counts in, but it was taking all my spare time just to get the words down. There was no time left over to try to do NaNoWriMo posts. The words did not flow.

I got about 12,000 words into the new book before I had to face facts: I had bit off more than I could chew. Part of it was the demands of work that were taking up more of my time than usual and sapping my strength, but the majority was the fact that the main character of my new book is a metahuman with a relatively ineffective power who is trained as a clinical psychologist trying to keep a ship full of war-traumatized soldiers and specialists on duty and away from each other’s throats. The sad reality was that I didn’t have the background of knowledge to talk reasonably about the challenges facing the character. I was working everything out in endlessly padded dialog. It was just painful.

What broke everything was that my mother-in-law, who is a diabetic, injured herself and ended up going to the hospital with a nasty infection. My wife had to go down and look after her and I quickly reached the point where I couldn’t keep everything going. But instead of dropping just one thing, I ended up dropping almost everything. Burnout.

Since then I’ve been struggling to get myself restarted and getting productive again. I have had the occasional moments of productivity. My Alpha Readers who still haven’t completed Perils of Prague are both writers, and were both working on NaNo novels, so when November rolled around, input from them effectively stopped. Last week, I posted on Facebook, asking for new volunteers to join the Alpha Read and give me the input I need to be ready to start the next draft. I got three volunteers. So far one has finished the first five chapters. If I can get at least two of them to get more than half way through the book by the end of December, I’ll be ready to start the next draft.

This is one of the hardest parts of the process for me. For most of my life, when I end up depending on someone else to do something, they bail on me and leave me to scramble at the last minute to cover the work they said they would do. It isn’t that I want to go it alone, I just want partners that I can trust to do their part. This stuff is not easy. I have great faith in my new readers, I just hope that nothing else comes up to derail things again.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: