It’s December 1st and that means a lot of bleary-eyed novelists have crawled out of their respective hide-aways and have rejoined the real world again. We herald the end of National Novel Writing Month with both sorrow and relief. NaNo is an endurance test, but a welcome one in which we grant ourselves permission to put other “important” tasks on the back burner. It is after all, a mere thirty days out of 365 and surely we can spare part of those days in pursuit of our craft, can’t we?
As you can see from the icon, I did hit the 50,000 word mark before the deadline… just barely. This year’s NaNo was, by far, the most personally challenging for me to date. Nailing down a story proved nearly impossible as I jumped from one idea to another and back again before making a final decision. In October, I outlined no less than ten different stories, only to settle on a story that I had not outlined at all. In the first few days of NaNo, still being indecisive, I penned just over 5000 words on another novel, which now sits in a pile with other false starts and abandoned stories.
In the end, I settled on an idea that had its origins in events that occurred during the last days of last year’s NaNo, as I relaxed on a long weekend in Savannah, Georgia. My impression during that brief visit was that it is a city haunted by both its past and potential future and that one is always under the watchful vision of unseen eyes. Out of this was born the concept behind this year’s NaNo – the idea that there are non-human inhabitants of the city who watch over and protect the human residents. Sentinel centers on the story of one such watcher who fails to remain emotionally and physically detached from those he guards. It is meant to be the first of a series of novels centered around such guardians, each set in a different location. However, the first, while meeting the 50K requirement for a NaNo“win”, still remains unfinished, with at least two chapters still unwritten. So the after-party is going to be a short one. I still have a novel to finish and will be continuing to write into December. What a novel concept!