…featuring her pet pig, Antonio
So I almost wrote a novel, with commentary on how it came to this.
This year, I plunged headlong into NaNoWriMo and, by virtue of determination, lack of sleep and madness, cranked out 50,551 words that added up to about 95% of a first draft for a novel that might not suck after a few more rewrites.
Since I passed the 50K mark (on the 28th day), NaNoWriMo says I won, even though the story stops abruptly (see lack of sleep above) in the middle of the final climactic battle. Maybe they ought to change their name to National Write Fifty Thousand Words In 30 Days And If You Get A Complete Story Told, Cool! Month. Or not, because the shortened version of that would still be way too long.
I will certainly finish “The Endless Mother Road”, possibly even this weekend. I just can’t leave Seyan Sandrel, Dree Brunfelder and the rest hanging. However, once I finish it, the novel will go on the back burner until about early March. I want to get back to blogging and doing 107 more Doclopedia entries so as to bring my total up to 1,000. Then there’s getting my Dungeons & Toons game ready for Dundracon, plus getting the stuff ready for the seminar I’m doing…and I want to start another novel, this one to be written at a much less frantic pace.
But enough of that stuff, let’s get on with the subject of how I finally got to the point of writing out one of the gazillion stories that have been slow cooking in my brain for the last 5 decades or so. It wasn’t until recently that I saw how I’ve been building up to this for a few years.
2006: I decide to put some roleplaying useful stuff on my blog, so I do daily entries entitled “365 Days, 365 Characters”. Later, the title morphs to “365 People, Places & Things”. I got up to 121 entries, then missed a day and called it quits.
2010: The “365” idea never really left my head, so on August 18, 2010, I started it up again. On January 30, 2011, I changed the title to “The Doclopedia”. I finished with the 365th entry on August 17, 2011. I think this was an important point in my getting in the habit of writing something creative every day. It was now truly a habit, if not an obsession.
2011: In fact, I was so used to posting Doclopedia entries, that on September 5, 2011, I started writing them again, although this time there were interruptions due to Grace having broken her arm and me having torn my left bicep muscle. I attempted to do NaNoWriMo in 2011, but the fucked up shoulder ended it early on.
2012: On my birthday in January, I began “366 Days, 500 Doclopedia Posts” AKA “366 Days Of Blogging Hell”, the biggest writing self challenge yet. Despite my mother and our dog Winker dying, shoulder surgery, job woes, health woes and other Real Life shit happening, I finished the challenge with just about 90 days to spare. And then I immediately (as in, NEXT DAY!) started up the NaNoWriMo thing.
Oh, and during the 2010-2012 stretch, I also posted fiction of various sorts, did yearly fake con reports (those started in 2008), posted other stuff on the blog, posted on Facebook and tweeted on Twitter.
So, what have I learned from all of this? I’m not sure. A slightly less cavalier attitude towards punctuation and grammar? The correct number of times to use “motherfucker” in a 300 word piece?
How have I changed after all of this? I’ve gotten well and fully into the habit of writing pretty much every day. I’ve also become more confident in my talent as a writer. I’ve learned to just start writing and see where it goes. I envy those writers who can do a detailed outline and then follow it, but that’s not me. Have I become a better writer? That’s up to you to decide, Gentle Readers.
Do I feel like getting out there and writing more roleplaying stuff for various companies? Probably not. The RPG stuff I like is a rather narrow slice of the new world of RPGs. In all honesty, most of the RPG products on the market today are nothing I’d spend my money on, even if I had money to spend. That’s not a statement about the quality of said products, just that most have either rules systems or basic concepts that I don’t care about. The RPG market has become very nichey in recent years and I don’t fit into most of those niches.
Will I write RPG stuff to self publish? Maybe, but only if I really feel like going through the hassle.
Will I try dipping my toe into writing fiction? Maybe. I’ll have to check out the market a bit. Yes, I know anybody can crank out fiction and sell it on Amazon or whatever, and that may become an option, but I’d kinda like to get a short story or two on an established website or in a real magazine or something first.
So, there it is, my journey so far as a writer. I guess the biggest takeaway from the past few years has been this, which is paraphrased from a famous Frank Zappa quote about his musical philosophy.
“I write what pleases me. If other people like it, that’s ok. If they don’t like it, that’s ok, too.”
So, Doc, what’s up next?
Well, not in any particular order…
Another 107 Doclopedia posts, so as to bring the total up to 1,000
More fiction for the “After The Change Came” series
Another novel, this one mostly of a humorous slant, about college students earning money as thieves
Yet another (the 6th) CatCon report
My most masochistic Writing Death March yet: 365 Days Of Building & Populating A Fictional Setting. Genre possibly decided by Reader Vote.
A possible paid RPG writing gig. Will know more in January.
The ubiquitous “Other Stuff”
A good chunk of the above will pop up right here on the this blog, but some may only appear on my website and some may just be ransomed at Reasonable Rates before I let anybody see it.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have writing to do.