This is the first year in the past like, 3 or 4 that I haven’t outright committed to doing NaNoWriMo. I keep going back and forth. I have a novel I need to finish by December 31st (Gray Morning). I am still in The Real LJ Idol Competition, though things have gotten tight now that there’s about 60 contestants left (out of a starting total of like…280?). I am working nearly full-time. I have a five year old with special needs. A divorce to plan and prepare for, and a free online writing course that starts tomorrow, of all days.

I kind of want to just…write something purely without doing ANY preparation. Gray Morning and The Stellar Challenge both require so much work, for two entirely different reasons. Gray Morning is on its second official draft, I’ve written large chunks of it out of order, and I need to piece it all together/fill in the gaps (which is probably around 20-30k worth of words, maybe more). I have a good idea for the plot arc of it, I know the major events, it’s just…filling in those gaps and rounding everything out.

The Stellar Challenge is still on draft one, and very, very slow going, because it requires a lot of forethought and planning. Each Planet focuses on a specific Challenger. Once each Planet is complete, there’s a “(Character) Story,” that explains how the Challenger came to do the Challenge, in the first place. Like how they died, why they think they need to go on a redemption quest, etc. I realized just yesterday that the book’s true Main Character is Saito — who is possibly one of the grossest characters I’ve ever written.

I’m doing an abridged version of his Planet Chapters (Saturn) for Idol — where he essentially breaks the cycle of his own Limbo/Hell and finally, finally earns a fate other than the one he’s been experiencing for the past however long. But he has to do it by preventing another Challenger from falling into the same traps he has for the past however many (I’m thinking at least 100) attempts at the Challenge himself. Saito is supposed to be forced to redo the Challenge forever and ever for all eternity; but after so many repeated attempts, he starts to remember his past attempts. He’s resigned himself to his fate, but he sees a lot of promise in Jordan — a young teenager who killed himself in a murder-suicide (with his mother as his victim). So when he sees Jordan falling for a trap that’s been set for Saito at least one hundred times before, well…

It should be interesting to write. But I have worked the past 5 nights (and, in fact, have only briefly napped today after getting out of work at 8am), and I’m exhausted, and it’s difficult to write something like this. I am not unemployed anymore; I don’t have the time to dedicate to the writing and the LJI competition like I used to, and it kills me.

So adding a NaNo project on top of these two novels (which are my closest to “completion”) just seems kind of… silly. I have a couple of other words that aren’t as well developed, but I’ve at least started all of them or have completed shorter, rougher drafts of them. And honestly, if I do NaNo, I want to do something fresh and new with characters I don’t know like the back of my hand or with a universe I haven’t done all the worldbuilding for, etc.

But like, I can’t seem to come up with anything? I dunno. It’s been a struggle. I’m sure on November 1st, I’ll find myself opening a new document and titling it NaNoWriMo14 and just… going with it. But until then, I keep going back and forth.

The start of my LJI entry, if you’re curious:

Saito stood at the threshold of the train, his lips pressed tightly together and his jaw clenched.


He had made it to Saturn.

“Dude, are you going to get off the train or what?” Jordan’s grating voice asked.

Saito’s jaw clenched further, and he took one step off the train and moved out of the teenager’s way. He didn’t look at the boy, instead averting his eyes from him as much as possible. Megumi followed Jordan off the train, her tight, black dress seemingly tighter and more revealing in the odd, overcast lighting of the gaseous planet.

Saito looked away from her, too.

He might not remember all the details, but one too many trips back to the Start had broken the amnesiatic effect of death. He remembered his mistakes. Remembered the promise of Redemption, and how he was to fail at it, every time, as punishment for his crimes.

But this was the first time he had made it to Saturn since his first trip.