I’m torn. Some of you may have heard of NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. It runs for 30 days in November of each year. Well, I’ve done it a few times, and it’s no big deal at this point. In fact, it’s a little asinine in that the objective is to write a 50,000-word “novel” but most participants write neither. Even if they did, 50,000 words does not a novel make. In any case, the only real “prize” for “winning” is knowing you did it and feeling superior to the cretin who failed like the losers they are.
Even so, I’ve found it a good stimulus to continue to write. I always write something in the summer and start or finish a major project in November. This year, I can’t decide what my next project should be. I’ve begun writing short stories toward my next anthology, the working title of which is Dark City Stories. I have 3 written, 1of which I really like , and a second story is underway.
So, for November, I can either continue working on my short stories, and try to crank out 50,000 words (143 pages) worth, or I can start work on my long-delayed detective novel, Jeanne Dark. I chose the name Dark City Stories as I’ve considered starting Jeanne out as a novelette in the collection. (It would be her second story.)
For the short story collection, I already have a number of ideas:
- “30 July 3013” – Life in the city.
- “321 Hell Street, Apt 7” – There is a darkness in the penthouse apartment of an old building populated by a diverse group of city dwellers. Rumors are its been there forever. But now it wants to leave.
- “A Girl Named Serenity Sea” – This is a fun and lyrical tale of a very unusual woman, and the complement to the novelette I completed named “Holy Mother of Selina Sky” (my favorite short story to date. It will be one of the first short stories ever penned that is based to a large extent on internet memes, with a real story wrapped around it.
- “Beyonder” – A tale of a wise and worldy elephant
- “The Girl Who Wore Shoes” – this is the tale of a young woman who wore shoes, but nothing else.
- “The Nebula that Awoke”
- “Umbrella Girl” – This one is a surprise … to me.
For the most part, instead of written ideas, I’m plotting the stories initially purely visually, using images as prompts. Those interested can check out my Pinterest collection. I also have some other ideas that I came up with traditionally: a sensual love story that takes place in a large city on another world, the love story of two people who discover they live in non-linear time, and an urban tale of gang life in the distant future. While writing short stories is satisfying, I find it more draining than books, because each “chapter” is a separate book. All the ideas have to be fresh.
It’s damned hard to come up with ideas. Even then, sometimes translating them into coherent stories takes real work. “Selina Sky” was the hardest thing I ever wrote.
My other choice is starting Jeanne Dark. I’ve previously written about her character, more than once. I recall writing that I cannot begin the novel until I’ve finished it in my head. I’m almost finished. I even have her car, which I’ve personalized. I’ve had her in my head since March 2012. She’s a collection of unique traits, with the skill of a Sherlock Holmes but none of the personality. She’s a synesthete, for one thing. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting on, until very recently, when I met the real-life version of my Jeanne. She’s so much like my character it’s scary.
So, I can also begin writing Jeanne, except for one thing: I have NO IDEA what mystery she needs to tackle. What’s something fresh that’s not been over-explored? Don’t know.
What do you guys think? If you were me, what would you tackle, the short stories, or begin work on Jeanne Dark? The good news with Jeanne is that I already have the cover art done. 🙂