I’d spent a good part of the year leading up to NaNo excited about the idea of writing a zombie story set in Australia where guns and crossbows are much more strictly controlled and finding weapons for the zombie apocalypse would be significantly more difficult. I had a folio of ideas that I wanted to explore, and I think there was a lot of potential. But during 2012 I made the mistake of reading Fifty Shades of Grey and any inkling of motivation for writing I might have had evaporated.
I couldn’t not do NaNo, it was an institution in my life, to skip it would just be wrong. Eventually I decided to pick an idea out of my folder of story fragments and run with that. I settled on Picklekin, Kindlewisp, and the Dragon and I started NaNo off with a bang.
By the fourth of the month I was fed up. It seemed there was no reward in doing NaNo. I didn’t need to prove anything to myself, and no one was impressed any more about it. I thought about abandoning the whole thing, but I had started and there was no way I could let a failure mar my perfect record of NaNo wins. After watching seasons 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead again I got fired up for a zombie story again and came back to NaNo with a 6000-word day.
Unfortunately, those 6000 words half sucked. The beginning was good, desolate, I liked it. But as I went on it just got terrible. Irredeemably terrible. I could have kept going, made it better, but the idea that the zombie market was already pretty well saturated made me decide to go back to Picklekin and his dragon. I laboured on for a bit, taking an extremely casual approach (as evidenced by the way my word count slumps under the target line).
Then, about 20k words in, I got an email from the game developers Divisive. They had just released their game to the iTunes store. I’d been shown the game when I was at EB Expo &, after questioning the exhibitor extensively, it looked fascinating. The moment I started playing I was in love with the story-telling potential. I went back to NaNo & started writing Speak for the Dead.
At no point was I worried about my word count & I crossed the finish line without even realising, verifying my word count and going back to my story to work on it some more. Since the end of November I have imported Speak for the Dead into yWriter and even after deleting all the NaNo-related bloat I have it up to 35k and still going. I expect it to come in at the short & sweet length of 40k with the intent of self-publishing early next year.
Speak for the Dead will be my first true NaNo success, and I can’t tell you how exciting that is.
Read about previous NaNo year here.