Well, we’re nearing that time of year again. This morning I received an email from the NaNo people warning that they’re about to prep the site for this year’s contest.
It’s still over a month away of course, but I think the biggest thing that kills NaNo attempts (or at least mine) is lack of preparation. If you’re writing a fantasy/science fiction story, you’d better have your world pretty well built by the time you sit down to even outline, I think. That can take a lot of time. I tried to do all that on short notice two years ago and it didn’t work out so well.
I’m determined to get a lot of material written for Kelly Sienna, The Scarlet Ranger. I’ve already got one published short story about her, plus several short exercises (mostly posted here somewhere, if you look around). A lot of her life story is written out in my head, so I think I can put together a pretty decent outline. It might be roughly broken down into something like this:
Part 1 – The Early Early Years, about Kelly as a young girl, when she first receives her powers and massive events that will shape the rest of her life happen.
Part 2 – The Teen Years, when she discovers just how different her powers make her, and must decide what to do with them.
Part 3 – Early Hero Years, involvement with the second generation Liberty Gang
Part 4 – The Experienced Years, as she comes into her own as a hero and her rocky romance with The Chicago Defender.
Something like that, anyway. That would be 12,500 words per section.
So now I’ve got to decide on a couple of things. Do I want to write it as several novellas? Should I avoid the decades-spanning story and focus on just one of those periods? If I decide to write a later period, will I regret limiting what I can do with the earlier times?
I’m leaning toward a novella of each time period. This way I may be able to avoid Star Wars-style continuity issues, and if I feel like there’s enough story in one, it can always be expanded. I may add another Part, which would give me five 10,000-word stories. If some fall short I can always fill in with much shorter one-off adventures. I don’t have a solid villain for her yet, so I could maybe do little flash pieces about whoever that turns out to be to fill in the gaps.
Anyone else out there doing NaNo? It’s daunting, but as I understand it, it becomes easier once you get it done once. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway.