NaNoWriMo 2015

The blog has been quiet because I have mostly been working, whether on day job stuff or the novel writing I actually need to do.

I will post a goals update tomorrow (or possibly Saturday – we’ll see) but I thought I should make an update about my NaNoWriMo plans for this year.


A friend and former ML Kim Switzer runs a writing coaching business called MuseCraft and she wanted to try out a curriculum for NaNoWriMo prep. I signed up, and I’ve found the exercises very helpful in developing my concepts this year.

Thank you Kim!

Plan B: The First Idea

I have two novels I am actively working on but both of them are in advanced enough stages of preparation that they are not really suitable to work on for NaNoWriMo – one of them was my 100k draft from 2013, while the other I wrote another 50k on last year to complete its second draft. So, I was sure I wanted to work on something new.

There’s a Greg Egan short story called Axiomatic which has rattled around in my brain ever since I read it. It’s about rewiring your brain to change the core properties of your personality. It’s a cool concept and a fascinating story, but I wanted to take a variation on that idea and go a different direction with it.

This story is called (at the moment) Perscon.

The technological conceit is something I am calling personality overlay – your core personality doesn’t change, but you download someone else’s ideoplex into your brain to act as a filter on your perceptions. The thought is that people (particularly the jaded wealthy) would use this technology to see their lives and experiences from a different angle for entertainment purposes.

Here’s the logline I developed with Kim’s help:

“Dack Sudo, a charismatic street tough, has a way out – recording his personality for others to experience – but then he’s banned when his mind proves too dangerous. When he is marked for death, he must find the truth about hidden mind control technology before the conspiracy takes over completely.”

So if that story is plan B, what’s plan A?

Plan A: The Wisdom of a Crowd

A while ago I took a presentation skills class at the day job. The five minute talk I prepared for that class was about “How To Write A Novel in 30 Days”.

Then earlier this year I thought it might be a good idea to expand that five minute talk into a full blown lunch presentation*. One of the gimmicks I came up with was to have the audience provide me with some ideas to write about in November.

I gave that talk last Friday, and we decided to have a story set in a steampunk Roman Empire.

Crikey – this one has been fertile ground.

I’ve been trying to stick to the plot cues from my colleagues which means I haven’t explored all of the potential conflicts (if an industrial European civilisation emerges a thousand years earlier, what of the other empires around at the time?) but this story (which I am calling Steampunk Rome at the moment) has been hugely inspiring. Here’s the logline for this one:

“Five centuries after Rome abolished slavery, ushering in an era of technological enlightenment, two friends, each with their own secrets, learn of a conspiracy to keep the true nature of this golden age hidden from the masses, and both must make choices that will change their lives forever.”

Plan C: Why Not Both?

So I have two stories I really like, both of which have potential for fitting into larger universes or even being series.

How do I choose?

Why should I choose?

I’ve written 100k in a month before, and writing two 50k novels simultaneously should be doable from a word count point of view.

And so that is my plan: two novels enter, two leave.

I may regret it, but it should at least be interesting.

Stay tuned here for updates on progress, emotional state, and sleep quality.

[*] my day job provides lunch on Fridays along with a speaker. It’s a great way of maintaining company cohesion, even as the company continues to expand.

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