A Sci-Fi Look at National Novel Writing Month

Now Brewing: Gloria Jean’s Swiss Chocolate Almond, a chocolatey blend with a nutty twist that is perfect for a fall evening. There’s nothing I like better than Swiss chocolate and it reminds me of family trips to the Swiss village of New Glarus, Wisconsin. I love the look of the Swiss-designed houses, shops, and hotels. I love the authentic Swiss cuisine and I especially love the chocolate. This coffee tastes just like I’m biting into a Swiss chocolate bar in the Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus.

For many of us, myself included, November marks the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a month of falling leaves, good food, close family, and impending winter weather–but for others, it’s the month of something much more. 

November is also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Writers of all kinds all over the country work on writing a 50,000 word novel during the month. 

The rules for the challenge (taken from the NaNoWriMo website) are fairly simple and few and are as follow:

  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

Although my own novel wouldn’t fit these criteria, maybe next year I’ll try it out! Even though I’m not participating this year, I was lucky enough to find a few participants here on WordPress and through the #NaNoWriMo hashtag on Twitter. I’d like to shed light on these brave individuals within my next few posts. 

I found Ross through the Freshly Pressed blogs under the Writing tag. His blog, Animscition, was boasting a NaNoWriMo word count of 32,977, already! I was impressed, at this point we were only three days into the competition. I decided to get into contact with this author and luckily he obliged to share a few secrets with me.

Ross, a self-described regular guy, was a short time ago a resident advisor (RA), the equivalent of the CA here at Stevens Point. He was, like many CAs or RAs in college dorms, sick of playing the bad cop to the teenage booze binges. On top of it, Ross was also applying to graduate school, adding more stress.  After deciding that he needed a break, he started writing his first novel–and now here he is, writing a 50,000 word novel in one month! Wow, I still think these NaNoWriMo-ers are a bit crazy!

Although planning a novel before writing it is a definite no for Ross, he admits he usually has a beginning, middle, and end planned before sitting down to write. From what happens there he likes to call a God complex. He told me, 

“I want my characters to make their own choices and decisions as I write. In my strange world, my characters make choices based on how they feel at that time and day.”

From the brief synopsis Ross provided me with about his NaNoWriMo Sci-Fi novel, it looks as though his characters are doing just fine on their own. Here’s a snapshot of what Ross has been working with in the first few days of the challenge:

The time is set in the 30th century after war has destroyed the world essentially. Starving families are a thing of the past now that most food is produced by  cloning genes in machine factories. The hero of the story is praised as the god Apollo, though Apollo only lends his strength to the boy. Our main characther is an arrogant 17 year old that refers to himself as a god. His deepest desire is to compete as a gladiator in his father’s arena, but he’s one year too young. 
While in his last year of school, international students begin attending. Two twins, one sharing the power of Ares and the other a mortal, spark a rivalry. The mortal challenges Apollo to make him stronger by threatening to kill everyone and everything he loves. Our main character not only has to save his entire arena with no one supporting him, but also struggles with normal teenage problems including being in love with two best friends. The story chronicles his legend as the savior of Colt Arena.

I think it looks like a great start and I would like to wish Ross the best of luck as the month continues. I also couldn’t have written this post without his help, so I’d like to extend a huge thank you for that as well. After my correspondence with him, we connected on Twitter as well and I was impressed when as lying down to sleep last night I read his tweet that he had finished over 4,500 words for his novel.

If only I had that much motivation–maybe someday!

Until then see you all soon,

Kathryn E. Weast

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